January is often the month for reflection and a resolution to do things differently. As a result of overindulgence during the festive period, many people make resolutions to make healthier eating choices or to do more exercise. An easy way to carry out more exercise on a daily basis is to embed it into your commute to work or education. As previous research from Greener Journeys has shown, there are a number of health benefits associated with bus travel. In fact, the daily walk to and from the bus stop and the destination can burn 22,630 calories a year. Even more impressively, daily bus users clock up the annual equivalent of 11 marathons.
What’s more, one in three people who regularly drive short distances to get around could easily take the bus instead, according to recent research commissioned by the Department for Transport. The British Social Attitudes Survey 2014: Public attitudes towards transport, conducted by NatCen Social Research, revealed that nearly one third (32%) of respondents could conveniently replace car journeys under two miles with the bus. By embarking on the simple act of taking the bus, people would be on the way to achieving half the Government’s recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day.
First conducted in 1996, the survey measures changing attitudes to transport choices by asking UK adults about their travel habits, in addition to collecting opinion on issues ranging from road safety to the environmental impact of travel.
The finding that a third of drivers could substitute car for bus comes after researchers in Japan suggested that public transport users are 44 per cent less likely to be obese than those who drive cars to work. These findings further emphasise the health benefits associated with the walk to the bus stop.
I have previously blogged that the benefits of taking the bus to work, or school, or to visit friends and family extend well beyond the healthy benefits. Previous Greener Journeys research has shown that if car drivers switched from car to bus for just one journey in 25, one billion fewer car journeys would be made on UK roads per year, leading to a reduction of two million tonnes in CO2 emissions. The economic benefits of choosing bus over car are similarly compelling. While traffic congestion costs the UK economy £11bn per year, every £1 invested in bus travel typically generates £3.32 of economic benefit.
The benefits of bus travel are vast, and with so many car journeys easily replaced by the bus, the daily commute is a fantastic opportunity to get a little extra exercise this January. If you can’t make it to the gym this week, or you’re feeling guilty for skipping the kale smoothie, hopping on the bus for a few journeys each week can ease your mind!
Image by: Tim Caynes