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Train v. Car

September 4, 2006

Which type of commute is the least stressful?



Train versus car. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Train commuters claim that their ride is less stressful because they don’t deal with traffic; drivers swear they’re more relaxed because they’re in control. Now new research on New York commuters supports the train riders’ side. Environmental psychologist Richard Wener of Polytechnic University in New York and his colleagues asked commuters about their psychological states before and after commutes.

RICHARD WENER (Polytechnic University):
And what we found was that train commuting was significantly less stressful than car commuting, that it seemed to be largely because it was perceived to be significantly less effortful and also more predictable.

He says this predictability is key, because it means people can relax knowing they’ll get to work and back home on time. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.