Commuting stresses more women than men

commuting stressArticle originally published at Technorati Women.

Personally I find commuting, by public transport especially, a tremendous chore.  New research from the London School of Economics and the University of Sheffield suggests that women have it tougher than men.

The authors reported that professional women suffer mentally as a result of their commute, in stark contrast to the typical man who navigates their commute with nary a care in the world.

The rationale behind this belief was that women are more conscious of the time they spend (waste) traveling to and from work, and therefore get more stressed out by delays and complications during the journey.

Professor of Economics, Jennifer Roberts, at the University of Sheffield said:

"We know that women, especially those with children, are more likely to add daily errands to their commute such as food shopping and dropping-off and picking-up children from childcare. These time-constraints and the reduced flexibility that comes with them make commuting stressful in a way that it wouldn't be otherwise."

The mental anguish suffered as a result of commuting increases in line with the level of domestic work, so mothers of pre-school children suffered most commuting related stress.  The psychological effect on them was found to be four times greater than for men with children of the same age.

The study found that even childless females in long-term relationships were also more affected than men.

Only single females with no children, those who could work flexible hours, and women whose partners were responsible for the bulk of childcare were unaffected by the daily commute.

When comparing men with other men, only those with pre-school age children suffered psychologically. Even so, in such cases they appeared to suffer less than childless women in relationships.

Professor of Social Policy, Paul Dolan, London School of Economics, said:

"Of course men also experience competing demands on their time, and so it may simply be that they are less affected by the psychological costs of commuting."



Adi, I'm very lucky in that I can walk into work. I was able to do this also in my previous 2 roles and I see it as a real advantage, not least with the exercise as well as less stress from not driving/travelling by public transport etc. When I did commute in by car previously I found moving from manual to automatic lowered stress too.

This doesn't surprise me at all.  Commuting is generally a horrible activity, and with train fares set to rise it can only get worse.  What does bug me about this though is that it still appears to be women that do most of the domestic stuff.  What on earth are the men doing?

More to the point, what are these women doing putting up with men that don't chip in with their share of the domestic work?  C'mon ladies, show a bit of leadership and whip those slackers into shape!

IBM have done a study into the worst cities for commuting.  London surprisingly does better than most.

commuting stress

I would probably add a few more at the red end based on previous experience eg


Tehran etc

At the green end I would add


Abu Dhabi/Dubai

Press release from IBM here

“Commuting doesn’t occur in a vacuum,” said Naveen Lamba, IBM’s global intelligent transportation expert. “A person’s emotional response to the daily commute is colored by many factors – pertaining both to traffic congestion as well as to other, unrelated, issues. This year’s Global Commuter Pain survey indicates that drivers in cities around the world are much more unsettled and anxious compared with 2010.”