Benches and transit shelters make riders happier, study finds - Mobility Lab

It feels like there’s a new tech product “disrupting” the transportation industry every day, from e-scooters to mobility-as-a-service apps. But sometimes it’s the simple things that make the biggest improvements in our mobility.

In this case, it’s benches and transit shelters. A new study found that the ability to rest is one of the most important factors affecting people’s happiness during trips.

Researchers Shuyan Chen, Yingling Fan, Yang Cao, and Aemal Khattak used data from the American Time Use Survey to assess factors influencing happiness on daily trips. It is unknown if most of the trips they looked at were public or active transportation trips or driving.

The two most important factors they found were the ability to rest during the trip and the health of the person making the trip. This fits the framework they created for defining happiness (or “subjective well-being,” as academia lovingly defines happiness), which places equal weight on overall well-being and situational well-being.

But why is rest an important factor? “[Th]e degree of rest often indicates mental capability of a person during trips,” the researchers write. “Without sufficient mental capability, negative emotions such as stress and fatigue are likely to emerge.” Presumably, drivers’ “mental capability” is eaten up by navigating roadways (which explains why drivers are stressed out during rush hour traffic) whereas transit riders can relax during their trips.

Read the full article here: