Study findings: Implications for policy and practice?

The Commuting & Wellbeing study came to an end in July 2017 and we presented our key findings at our end of project showcase, hosted by the Department for Transport on 11th September 2017.

The event provided a valuable opportunity for us to discuss the study with an audience of over 60 delegates drawn from central government (including the Departments of Transport, Health, Communities and Local Government, and Work and Pensions), local authorities, academia and various non-governmental organisations.

Overall, our analysis has showed that (all else being equal) every extra minute of commuting time reduces job satisfaction, reduces leisure time satisfaction, increases strain in people’s lives and worsens mental health. 

The effects of commuting on employee wellbeing were also found to vary depending on the mode of transport used to get to work. So for example, those who walk or cycle to work do not report reductions in leisure time satisfaction in the same way as other commuters, even with the same duration of commute. Presumably, active commuting is seen as a beneficial use of time.

Full details of the study findings are now available in our summary report and a quick overview is provided by the accompanying one-page flyer. All of the publications from the project can be downloaded from the outputs page.

We are now contemplating the post-project challenge of identifying how policy, interventions or best practice guidance can be designed in response to the new evidence. For example, are there actions that can be taken to help employees find attractive housing close to their workplaces to reduce the need for time consuming commutes?

We would welcome your views in relation to this and have been seeking to stimulate debate in different arenas by publicising our findings in various special interest blogs and the general media. Some of our recent press coverage is listed below:

Special Interest Blogs

University of the West of England : Commuting has multiple impacts on employee wellbeing

What Works Centre for Wellbeing : Commuting and employee wellbeing

Understanding Society : Every extra minute of commute reduces job satisfaction

Work Wise : Smarter commuting is about mixing it up!

General Media Coverage

The Times  : Long slog to work as bad as a pay cut.

The Telegraph : A 20 minute increase in commute time is as bad as a pay cut

The Mail Online : Why you should live closer to work

The Evening Standard : Extra 20 minutes commuting per day ‘equivalent to 19% pay cut’ for job satisfaction

ITV : UWE study finds longer commute to work reduces job satisfaction

Newsweek : Here’s how to be happy: Shorten your work commute by 20 minutes