Your Commute is Slowly Killing You
Stop us if you've heard this one before: long commutes are bad for your health. Some of the strongest recent findings in behavioral science have focused on the perils of a long ride to work. People with a lengthy commute show an increased amount of stress, get worse sleep, and experience decreased social interaction. A commute of 45 minutes carries such a cost to well-being that economists have found you have to earn 20 percent more to make the trip worth it.
Broadly speaking, a long commute corresponded with several negative health outcomes. Poor sleep quality, exhaustion, and low general health were linked most strongly with lengthy commutes, though stress was apparent as well.
One reason for the linear association among transit riders is most likely that longer transit rides often involve transfers. That not only increases the length of the trip but also its unpredictability (waiting for several different arrivals), its variability (some trips take much longer than others), and its potential for crowding — all factors that have been shown to increase the stress of the commute.