Strains, Trains and Automobiles

When researching my recent post about commute stress, I came across another great finding in the study titled Leave the Driving to Them: Comparing Stress of Car and Train Commuters by Wener, Evans and Luton. This time, instead of college student participants as in the last post, researchers based this study on real commuters in New Jersey. These people traveled for over an hour (average of 75 minutes) via car or train from their homes, in New Jersey to their workplaces, in New York City.

Most interesting was the various factors tested: mood, effort, stress, unpredictability and controllability. The findings are similar to what I had initially thought, that car commuters had statistically significantly more stress, effort and unpredictability than train commuters. Trains just seem so much more pleasant than having to work through traffic when I’m a driver! Furthermore, mood was worse for car commuters than train commuters (Wener, 2006).

This continues to make me think that carpooling may be the best of both worlds – less stress, at least on the passengers and possibly less hassle especially to places where current transportation does not serve constituents well.

From the data, I created this chart that shows the effects:

Wener, R. E. (2006). Leave the Driving to Them: Comparing Stress of Car and Train Commuters. Retrieved from