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Measures of a Sustainable Commute as a Predictor of Happiness

Author

Listed:
  • Scott Cloutier

    () (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA)

  • Alex Karner

    () (Graduate Program in Community and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA)

  • Hanna L. Breetz

    () (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA)

  • Parinaz Toufani

    () (Department of Industrial Engineering at Istanbul Sehir University, 34865 Istanbul, Turkey)

  • Nuri Onat

    () (Department of Industrial Engineering at Istanbul Sehir University, 34865 Istanbul, Turkey)

  • Sambhram Patel

    () (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA)

  • Siddhanth Paralkar

    () (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA)

  • Erica Berejnoi

    () (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA)

  • Beth Ann Morrison

    () (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA)

  • Jason Papenfuss

    () (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA)

  • A. Davieau Briggs

    () (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA)

  • Cynthia Carlson

    () (Department of Civil Engineering, Merrimack College, North Andover, MA 01845, USA)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Cloutier & Alex Karner & Hanna L. Breetz & Parinaz Toufani & Nuri Onat & Sambhram Patel & Siddhanth Paralkar & Erica Berejnoi & Beth Ann Morrison & Jason Papenfuss & A. Davieau Briggs & Cynthia , 2017. "Measures of a Sustainable Commute as a Predictor of Happiness," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(7), pages 1-15, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:7:p:1214-:d:104509
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andrew E. Clark & Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2008. "Boon or Bane? Others' unemployment, well-being and job insecurity," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586022, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Majid Zahiri & Jielun Liu & Xiqun (Michael) Chen, 2019. "Taxi Downsizing: A New Approach to Efficiency and Sustainability in the Taxi Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(18), pages 1-17, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    happiness; subjective well-being; sustainability; transportation; sustainable transportation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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