Public transport 'is bad for commuters' health'

Long car journeys better for you than short ones, too


Swedish researchers have carried out a survey which, they say, reveals that commuting by public transport or by car damages people's health compared to making the journey to work by foot or bicycle. Curiously, the research also appeared to show that a long commute by car led to better health than a short drive in.

The survey covered some 21,088 Swedes all of whom worked more than 30 hours a week. Their perceived healthiness was measured by asking questions related to general health, sleep quality, exhaustion and everyday stress, and the results assessed against the length of their journeys to work and the means of transport used.

Perhaps obviously, the cyclists and walkers came out tops for how healthy they were feeling, with drivers in general and users of public transport feeling comparatively grotty. For the public transport users, the longer the journey the worse they felt: but among drivers, those who had a journey over an hour long felt in better shape than those with a short trip of 30 to 60 minutes.

"Generally car and public transport users suffered more everyday stress, poorer sleep quality, exhaustion and, on a seven-point scale, felt that they struggled with their health compared to the active commuters," comments Prof Erik Hansson of Lund Uni. "The negative health of public transport users increased with journey time. However, the car drivers who commuted 30 – 60 minutes experienced worse health than those whose journey lasted more than one hour."

Hansson and his colleagues aren't sure why the long-distance drivers felt in such good shape compared to those who spent less time behind the wheel, but he offers some ideas.

"One explanation for the discrepancy between car and public transport users might be that long-distance car commuting, within our geographical region, could provide more of an opportunity for relaxation," he commented. "However, it could be that these drivers tended to be men, and high-income earners, who travelled in from rural areas, a group that generally consider themselves to be in good health. More research needs to be done to identify how exactly commuting is related to the ill health we observed in order to readdress the balance between economic needs, health, and the costs of working days lost."

The study is published in full today by BMC Public Health. ®


Other stories you might like

  • India reveals home-grown server that won't worry the leading edge

    And a National Blockchain Strategy that calls for gov to host BaaS

    India's government has revealed a home-grown server design that is unlikely to threaten the pacesetters of high tech, but (it hopes) will attract domestic buyers and manufacturers and help to kickstart the nation's hardware industry.

    The "Rudra" design is a two-socket server that can run Intel's Cascade Lake Xeons. The machines are offered in 1U or 2U form factors, each at half-width. A pair of GPUs can be equipped, as can DDR4 RAM.

    Cascade Lake emerged in 2019 and has since been superseded by the Ice Lake architecture launched in April 2021. Indian authorities know Rudra is off the pace, and said a new design capable of supporting four GPUs is already in the works with a reveal planned for June 2022.

    Continue reading
  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021