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Is commuting more stressful than going to the dentist?

3 min read

29 April 2015

New research exploring European workers' attitudes towards their daily journey found that commuting proved to be a bigger source of stress in their lives than work itself.

Last year the Office of National Statistics revealed that the number of London residents cycling to work had doubled in ten years, and many cite the complicated, drawn-out commute that they would otherwise face as a big draw in getting on their bikes.

It’s unlikely to surprise many then, that the results from Ford’s new survey found that Londoners said commuting was more stressful than visiting the dentist.

The study looked across rush hour travel in some of Europe’s major cities and discovered that commuters are more likely to find their journey to work more stressful than the job itself. Of the 5,503 workers across London, Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Rome, 26 per cent found commuting stressful, compared to the 23 per cent who found work stressful.

For many, the prospect of moving house and the various trials and tribulations associated with lugging their furniture about – only to discover there’s no way the sofa is going to fit through the door – is enough to try their patience. Respondents in Rome though, said commuting was a bigger source of stress than moving into a new home.

Workers in the Italian capital were most likely to say that commuting was increasingly stressful at 57 per cent, followed by London at 41 per cent and Paris at 35 per cent.

The overall picture showed that one in three people find commuting taxing, and over one in four agreed that their daily travels were becoming increasingly unpredictable.

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Andreas Ostendorf, vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering at Ford of Europe said: “For many people it can feel like they have done a full day before they have be set foot in the office.”

He acknowledged that, “society is becoming increasingly urban with cities growing in size and number, and we a need transport infrastructure that can keep pace with expansion”.

Speaking at the Sustainable Brands Barcelona Conference, Ostendorf presented a plan for Ford to work with cities worldwide as part of a scheme to address the transportation challenges brought on by population growth and urbanisation. The focus will be on innovation in areas such as connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.

Looking specifically at Barcelona, Ostendorf said that everything from pedestrian walkways to shuttle buses, “needs to be connected and integrated to optimise urban mobility in the future.”

The survey reflected the difficulty faced by many on their average journeys in and out of work – 80 per cent of Londoners reported that they were late for work at least once a month, and 49 per cent not managing to make it in at all on at least one occasion during the last year.