How does commute duration affect subjective well-being? A case study of Chinese cities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, ridership - commuting, policy - congestion


Commute duration, Subjective well-being, Social capital, Health, Job satisfaction, Urban China


Previous research on the role of commute duration in subjective well-being (SWB) has paid little attention to developing countries and the possible pathways determining the relationship between them. In this study, we construct a conceptual framework, identifying the possible pathways through which commute duration may affect SWB. Next, we empirically analyse some of these pathways in the context of urban China. We find that although the direct effects of commute duration on life satisfaction and emotional well-being are insignificant, prolonged commute duration has significant and negative indirect effects on life satisfaction and emotional well-being through lowering health, job satisfaction, and community-based social capital. In addition, compared with people who commute by public transport, those who use private cars are more satisfied with their lives. Urban policymakers should give more consideration to reducing traffic congestion, to promoting the housing and labour market, as well as public transport, to reduce the negative influences of commute duration on SWB.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SpringerLink, copyright remains with them.