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Cyclists Have Happiest Commute, Shows US Smartphone App

Cyclists Have Happiest Commute, Shows US Smartphone App

A woman wearing a dress rides on a bicycle during Women’s Bicycle Tour at Konak Square in Izmir, … [+] Getty Images “Technology allows us…

Tuesday, Oct 04

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A woman wearing a dress rides on a bicycle during Women’s Bicycle Tour at Konak Square in Izmir, … [+] Getty Images “Technology allows us to capture people’s emotional experience,” says Yingling Fan, an urban and regional planning professor at the University of Minnesota. She has tracked commuter trips with colleagues on the Daynamica smartphone app created by a company she cofounded.

This app collects GPS data on routes chosen and then asks participants to rank segments by emotions, mapping happiness, meaningfulness, pain, sadness, stress, and tiredness. These emotions are then transferred to the University of Minnesota’s Transportation Happiness Map.

“Our research showed biking is the happiest,” says Fan , who tracked commuters in Minneapolis. She has been studying population-level travel behavior and associated emotional experiences since 2011. A runner dashing along the wet paths along West River Parkway in Minneapolis, Minnesota.] Jerry … [+] Star Tribune via Getty Images The research discovered that the mapped route with the highest scores for “happiness” was the separated, riverside cycleway beside the West River Parkway.

In a short film introducing the Transportation Happiness Map , Fan said: “Urban planners have a lot of power to shape people’s emotional experience.”

In the same film, Minnesota Department of Transportation transport and public health planner Nissa Tupper said: “When most people think about commuting, they think about being stuck behind a wheel, and that’s an immediate unhappy situation.” Fan’s research joins similar studies that found those who walk or cycle to work are happier than car commuters.

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