Smoother journeys could improve mental wellbeing
By Sasha Wood, published 17/04/2019
UK business travellers have long complained about the stress of cancelled trains, security queues and overcrowding, and now a new study suggests that poor transport infrastructure has a negative impact on traveller wellbeing and mental health.
The new report, Building Better: the Role of Transport Infrastructure and Services in Improving Mental Health, commissioned by London City Airport, says smoother journeys, better transport infrastructure and improved services could all make a tangible difference to traveller wellbeing.
Recommendations in the report include creating better journeys improving train station and airport design, minimising noise, increasing natural light and making it easier to navigate around.
Meanwhile, delays, cancellations, anti-social behaviour and overcrowding were identitied as major factors affecting people’s mental wellbeing.
Accessibility and support for passengers is also highlighted as a key area for improvement in the study, which says passengers with hidden disabilities, travellers with specific conditions such as Alzheimer’s, or those suffering from suicidal feelings, need tailored support which can be improved with staff training.
London City Airport’s Chief Executive, Robert Sinclair, says: “This study shows that improving and investing in the country’s transport infrastructure could play a key role in improving the wellbeing of millions of people travelling across England.”
Sinclair continues: “A good or bad experience while travelling, and the environments encountered, can have a profound impact on stress levels, particularly if there is unpredictability, perceived lack of control, delays or cancellations, closures or overcrowding.
“Likewise, poorly designed stations or airports which have little natural light or poor accessibility for people with mobility issues could increase stress and anxiety.”
Using NHS data to assess the prevalence and cost of mental health disorders, the report estimates the cost of mental illness to the UK economy is £66.5 billion due to related absences and more people quitting their job due to poor mental health.
London City Airport is currently designing and constructing a new £500 million terminal with improved facilities, due to be completed by 2022.