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Measures of a Sustainable Commute as a Predictor of Happiness

Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Graduate Program in Community and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Department of Industrial Engineering at Istanbul Sehir University, 34865 Istanbul, Turkey
Department of Civil Engineering, Merrimack College, North Andover, MA 01845, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1214;
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
The ways in which we travel—by what mode, for how long, and for what purpose—can affect our sense of happiness and well-being. This paper assesses the relationships between measures of the sustainability of transportation systems in U.S. metropolitan areas and subjective well-being. Associations between self-reported happiness levels from the Gallup Healthways Well-being Index and commute data were examined for 187 core-based statistical areas (CBSA). We also supplement this quantitative analysis through brief case studies of high- and low-performing happiness cities. Our quantitative results indicate that regions with higher commute mode shares by non-automobile modes generally had higher well-being scores, even when controlling for important economic predictors of happiness. We also find that pro-sustainable transportation policies can have implications for population-wide happiness and well-being. Our case studies indicate that both high and low scoring happiness cities demonstrate a dedicated commitment to improving sustainable transportation infrastructure. Our study suggests that cities that provide incentives for residents to use more sustainable commute modes may offer greater opportunity for happiness than those that do not. View Full-Text
Keywords: happiness; subjective well-being; sustainability; transportation; sustainable transportation happiness; subjective well-being; sustainability; transportation; sustainable transportation
MDPI and ACS Style

Cloutier, S.; Karner, A.; Breetz, H.L.; Toufani, P.; Onat, N.; Patel, S.; Paralkar, S.; Berejnoi, E.; Morrison, B.A.; Papenfuss, J.; Briggs, A.D.; Carlson, C. Measures of a Sustainable Commute as a Predictor of Happiness. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1214.

AMA Style

Cloutier S, Karner A, Breetz HL, Toufani P, Onat N, Patel S, Paralkar S, Berejnoi E, Morrison BA, Papenfuss J, Briggs AD, Carlson C. Measures of a Sustainable Commute as a Predictor of Happiness. Sustainability. 2017; 9(7):1214.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cloutier, Scott, Alex Karner, Hanna L. Breetz, Parinaz Toufani, Nuri Onat, Sambhram Patel, Siddhanth Paralkar, Erica Berejnoi, Beth A. Morrison, Jason Papenfuss, A. D. Briggs, and Cynthia Carlson. 2017. "Measures of a Sustainable Commute as a Predictor of Happiness" Sustainability 9, no. 7: 1214.

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