November 18, 2016

There are small things we can all do improve air quality, optimize mobility, and conserve energy.  TravelWise, an initiative of the Utah Department of Transportation, invites Utahns to rethink their trip by driving less and driving smarter.

There are many benefits including improved energy use, mobility, air quality, and health.  Over the last two decades, obesity rates in the US and Utah have skyrocketed.  The results are troubling – obesity is related to higher incidences of heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, depression, and many forms of cancer.  Although obesity is a complex problem, sedentary lifestyles are an important cause.  Finding time to be physically active is challenging, in no small part due to long commute times.

TravelWise strategies can impact your health and even reduce obesity.  Think about how you can spend less time commuting and more time doing the things that improve your health and quality of life.

  • Studies show that the risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced by as much as 16% for people who walk 3 hours per week and 11% for people who actively commute (compared to people who do not actively commute). 1
  • Americans who walk to and from public transit get an average of 19 minutes of physical activity per day. 29% of transit users get more than 30 minutes (the recommended daily amount) just from walking to and from public transit stops.  2
  • Commuting distance has been shown to be associated with poor health outcomes. People who commuted more than 10 miles to and from work were more likely to have high blood pressure than people with shorter commutes.  People who lived more than 15 miles away were more likely to be obese.3

The TravelWise website has a number of strategies that can help you rethink your trip.

  • Carpool
  • Public Transit
  • Skip the Trip
  • Teleworking
  • Trip Chaining
  • Plan Ahead
  • Active Transportation
  • Alternative Work Schedule


  1. Hamer M, Chida Y. Active commuting and cardiovascular risk: A meta-analytic review. Prev Med. 2008; 46(1):9-13.
  2. Besser L, Dannenberg, A. Walking to Public Transit:  Steps to Help Meet Physical Activity Recommendations.  Am J Prev Med.  2005; 29(4)273-280.
  3. Hoehner C, Barlow C, Allen P, Schootman M. Commuting distance, cardiorespiratory fitness, and metabolic risk.  Am J Prev Med. 2012; 42(6): 571-8.