Bus Driver Well-Being Review: 50 Years of Research

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - surveys, ridership - drivers, ridership - behaviour, mode - bus, literature review - literature review


Stress (Psychology), Stress (Human), Psychosocial aspects, Psychological effects, Psychological aspects, Occupational diseases, Mental stress, Medical conditions, Literature surveys, Literature reviews, Intracity bus transportation, Illness, Human behavior, Health hazards, Diseases and medical conditions, Bus transit, Bus operators, Bus drivers, Behaviour, Behavior


This review paper consolidates the key research on the occupational health of urban bus drivers since the 1950s. Several electronic databases were searched and 27 key studies were identified, which form the basis of this paper. Early findings that bus drivers are liable to suffer ill health as a result of the job remain true today. The research has, however, demonstrated a greater understanding that specific stressors result in certain physical (cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, musculoskeletal problems, fatigue), psychological (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder) and behavioral outcomes (substance abuse). Bus driver ill health will have consequences for organizational performance in terms of employee absence, labor turnover and accidents. Stressors for bus drivers include poor cabin ergonomics, rotating shift patterns and inflexible running times. Over the last few decades, the heightening of other work stressors such as traffic, and violence from passengers have compounded the situation for bus drivers. Greater attention to salient moderating and mediating variables in the stressor—strain relationship is featuring in more recent research. Despite such theoretical advances, the research needs to also concentrate on practical interventions that are systematically implemented and evaluated, to improve the well-being of bus drivers. By improving this “human side” of the role, it is expected that the efficiency of this transport will be enhanced for bus drivers, operators and passengers alike.


Transportation Research Part F Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/13698478