Caught (up) in traffic

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Health and commuting

August 2015


Why is good public transportation especially transit important? Perhaps transport engineers and planners often get lost in trying to explain this from the perspectives of travel efficiency (e.g., reduced travel times, fuel efficiency, more capacity in terms of people carried, etc.) and environmental concerns (e.g., reduced emissions, reduced noise, etc.). Perhaps, too, there’s a need to articulate the importance of good public transport from the perspective of health. How many people do running, jogging or walking in the mornings, afternoons or evenings just to lose weight? How many go to gyms to workout? Perhaps the key to health lies in just walking everyday and integrating that healthy walk in your daily commutes. Here is a nice article from the Wall Street Journal on the link between the way you commute and a healthy life:

Your Commute Could Help You Lose Weight

Somethings I miss from living in Japan and Singapore are my regular walks to and from the transit station. I recall really good walks between the Transport Laboratory in YNU to the Soetetsu Line Kami Hoshikawa Station. You have to walk up a small mountain almost everyday from the station to the university. I also had good walking buddies back then during my 3 years in Yokohama. Later, I also enjoyed walking or cycling between the Transport Lab at Saitama University and the International House. Often, too, I would walk or cycle to the supermarket, the transit station or just around the neighborhood during free times. In Singapore, our home and the office were also near transit stations so we could take nice walks between them aside from the four flight of stairs to our apartment on the fourth floor. Such healthy commutes can be realized in Philippine cities if proper planning is undertaken and transit projects are implemented not just from the perspective of efficiency but, importantly, from the viewpoint of health. The current state of public transport is not healthy and many, especially those taking the EDSA MRT 3, will say that it is quite stressful to commute in Metro Manila. And stress is definitely not the way to lose weight. Is this true for other Philippine cities as well? Hopefully, we can work out transport solutions that include good public transport to promote healthy lifestyles.

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