Spare the Air Employer Program

How Employees Benefit from Commute Alternatives

Employees who show up to work happy are more productive, which benefits your bottom line. Employers find that employees who drive alone on long commutes often experience unnecessary mental and physical health issues, which in turn affects their day-to-day attitude, productivity and quality of work. Here are a few excerpts from research on the health effects of commuting.

Alameda County’s Clean Commute Program is one of the core strategies to meet our Climate Action Plan and engage our employees about sustainable choices. The Spare the Air Employer Program has supported our efforts to encourage employees to carpool to work. Carpooling is an easy clean air commute option that saves employees time and money, and helps Spare the Air!Phillip Kobernick, County of Alameda

Psychological Health

“A 2014 study found psychological well-being, including ability to concentrate and happiness, was higher for people commuting by active travel like walking or public transit compared to driving. Driving requires constant concentration and can result in increased boredom, social isolation, and stress. Switching from car driving to active travel resulted in improved well-being.”
Commuting: “The Stress That Doesn’t Pay”, PsychologyToday.com, January 12, 2015.

Physical Health

“Commuting by bicycling and walking fell 66 percent between 1960 and 2009, while adult obesity levels increased by 156 percent. Physical activity can result in weight loss, improved blood circulation and cardiovascular fitness, and reduced obesity, diabetes, and blood pressure. Walking has also been shown to increase bone density.”
The Transportation Cost-Savings Calculator: Public Health and Safety – Physical Activity, Mobility Lab (May 8, 2013)

“Greater time spent actively commuting is associated with higher levels of physical wellbeing, independent of time spent in other domains of physical activity…. the largest benefit was associated with participating in at least 45 min of active commuting per day.”
Associations between active commuting and physical and mental wellbeing, Preventive Medicine (August 2013)

“One (2012) study found that people who drove longer distances to work reported less frequent participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity and decreased cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and had greater body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and blood pressure.”
Commuting Distance, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Metabolic Risk, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, (June 2012)

“…while flexible working and homeworking are on the rise, the study found it was flexible working specifically which brought benefits to workers. Those able to work flexibly were less likely to be stressed or depressed and had an extra five productive days a year, compared to those with no flexible working arrangements.”
Here’s the impact long commutes have on your health and productivity, Business Insider (May 22, 2017)