The ONS survey looked at four factors that define “personal well-being”: life satisfaction, a sense that daily activities are worthwhile, happiness and anxiety, and how these vary based on the length of a person’s commute, and the mode by which they travelled.
The figures found that the worst effects of commuting on personal well-being were associated with journey times of between 61 and 90 minutes. The ONS said that “on average, all four aspects of personal well-being were negatively affected by commutes of this duration when compared to those travelling only 15 minutes or less to work”.
However, when commutes reached three hours or more, the ONS found that the negative aspects began to disappear – and suggested that this could be because people on such long journeys use their time productively.
It might be assumed that people who walk or cycle to work had higher levels of “personal well-being”. However, the ONS found that the figures varied widely depending on the length of the commute.
Overall, the figures said, people who take a bus or coach to work for more than 30 minutes suffered the most negative effects.