How Do Stressed Workers Make Travel Mode Choices That Are Good For Their Health, Safety, and Productivity?

Liu-Qin Yang, Portland State University


This proposal integrates the perspectives from transportation and psychology research by focusing on the relations between commuting stress, commuting mode choice, and consequences of such choice for commuters' health, travel safety, and work performance. To fill the gaps in the transportation and psychology literatures, our proposal addresses 2 key research questions—1) under what circumstances workers experiencing commuting stress are more likely to commute via car vs. public transit vs. bicycle vs. on foot? 2) what are the different implications of choosing different commuting modes for commuters’ mental and physical health?  Our proposal to be funded by this mini-grant aims to analyze two existing datasets in order to inform a primary study to propose for a larger NITC project which we plan to submit during the Spring 2017 cycle. Specifically, we will analyze an existing secondary data –the 2011 Oregon Household Activity Survey (Pilot Study 1) and the data from one-week daily diary surveys (Pilot Study 2) to address the aforementioned research questions, respectively. Results from these analyses will inform the study design of our intended primary study where both our research questions will be examined simultaneously in a more rigorous way. Our research (2 pilot studies and 1 primary study) will establish reliable instruments of commuting stress and examine the distribution of commuting stress across socio-demographic groups and geographic areas, particularly focusing on low income and minority population with limited commuting options. Findings from this research should shed light on possible intervention opportunities that help commuting workers to cope with various sources of life stress while making more informed decision on travel mode choice. Indeed, we contend that commuting workers, their employers, and transportation agencies and planners can all take part in these interventions that can benefit commuter/employee productivity and well-being, organizational bottom line as well as performance and safety of the transportation system.

Project Details

Project Type:
Small Starts
Project Status:
End Date:
June 30,2017
UTC Grant Cycle:
Natl Small Starts Round 2
UTC Funding: