Excess commuting, rail access and subjective wellbeing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - rail, land use - impacts, land use - transit oriented development, ridership - commuting, policy - equity, planning - surveys


transit-oriented development, commuting, rail access


While existing studies have largely focused on the impacts from transit-oriented development on commuting patterns, there is limited evidence on the effect of rail access on subjective wellbeing with explicit considerations about the presence of excess commuting. This study uses the Bayesian multilevel model to investigate the relationship between rail access, excess commuting and subjective wellbeing in Beijing metropolitan areas. We identify actual commuting times as reported by individuals and obtain optimized commuting times through the online map route information between work and residential locations of survey respondents. We find that excess commuting imposes significantly negative effects on life satisfaction of residents, conditional upon social, spatial and contextual characteristics. Better rail access generates positive complementary effects with excess commuting in benefiting life satisfaction of residents. Findings of this study suggest the importance of optimizing the transit-oriented development to mitigate social-spatial inequalities in urban quality of life concerns.


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


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