Peak of the Day or the Daily Slog: Commuting and Subjective Well-Being

Oliver Smith, Portland State University


Dissertation Summary: Travel, especially commuting, is an everyday phenomenon for most people. While routine, travel impacts people's moods and emotions and, possibly, overall happiness. This study will examine how different commuting contexts affect people's sense of well-being. If measurable connections between commuting and well-being are found, the findings could help improve tools for analyzing travel behavior and transportation investments. The question "What factors contribute to well-being in the domain of commute travel?" will guide the research, and sub-questions will address specific interactions between well-being and work mode choice (i.e. car, bus, light rail, bicycle, walk), socio-demographic factors, land-use factors, travel preferences, trip context, feelings experienced during commutes, and overall wellbeing. An online survey will be used to collect data about these factors from commuters in Portland, OR. A well-being approach to policy analysis has gained momentum among policymakers and this research offers ways to measure and model well-being in an important travel context, commuting. This study will also provide evidence from a U.S. based, non-university sample, which has been lacking in other research on this topic.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
October 30,2013
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2011
UTC Funding: