Back on track

The rail industry commissioned new research to review existing academic literature to demonstrate the positive benefits of commuting by train

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The Challenge

As consumer mindsets shift away from holidays to "back to work," especially after a long COVID-19 lockdown period, how can we best highlight the positive benefits of commuting by train, encouraging more people to travel into the office this way?

The Solution

We spend an average of over 220 hours a year commuting in the UK - pre pandemic - on trains, buses and in our cars. While some people are returning to this routine, others are now commuting from the kitchen to a home office. What are the consequences of spending an hour a day on a train rather than in a car, or working from home rather than in an office?

ACN reviewed the academic literature on commuting, illustrating the key principles and empirical findings from psychology and neuroscience. We also reviewed how distracting environments and the demands of multitasking can impact learning, memory and cognition, and how different forms of commuting can be leveraged for psychological well being.

Key findings:

  • Noisy environments impair cognition, attention and memory
  • Multitasking or switching between tasks incurs a psychological cost
  • Memory and spatial location are closely related which facilitates learning new information when traveling
  • Engaging in a spatial tasks - like driving - are particularly cognitively demanding, and infere with other cognitive processes
  • Daily commute on train has potential psychological benefits for wellbeing and learning

The work received extensive media coverage including TV, radio, print and digital.  It was even featured on the cover of The Times:

Mick Jagger pointing to our exciting findings!

For additional information on consumer neuroscience, download our free Guide to Quality Neuromarketing.

Researchers Involved

Prof. Daniel Richardson
Prof. Joseph Devlin

More from these Researchers

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