Tough Commute Tough To Take

by | Oct 23, 2005

We saw a bumper sticker on a minivan this morning while doing errands on Hilton Head Island. It said, “Slow Down: This Isn’t The Mainland.”

Robert H. Frank writing in Deadalus:

Studies have shown that the demands of commuting through heavy traffic often result in emotional and behavioral deficits upon arrival at home or work. Compared to drivers who commute through low-density traffic, those who commute through heavy traffic are more likely to report feelings of annoyance. And higher levels of commuting distance, time, and speed are significantly positively correlated with increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The prolonged experience of commuting stress is also known to suppress immune function and shorten longevity. Even daily spells in traffic as brief as fifteen minutes have been linked to significant elevations of blood glucose and cholesterol, and to declines in blood coagulation time–all factors that are positively associated with cardiovascular disease. Commuting by automobile is also positively linked with the incidence of various cancers, especially cancer of the lung, possibly because of heavier exposure to exhaust fumes. The incidence of these and other illnesses rises with the length of commute, and is significantly lower among those who commute by bus or rail, and lower still among noncommuters.

I’m thankful for my short commute to and from work–a clear benefit to life in the Lowcountry. Although, it could be even better if there was a bike trail along 278. Greater Bluffton Pathways is working on it.

Thanks to The Practical Hippie for the pointer to the Frank article.