How transport modes, the built and natural environments, and activities influence mood: A GPS smartphone app study

Trevin E. Glasgow, Huyen T.K. Le, E. Scott Geller, Yingling Fan, Steve Hankey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Transportation-related mood studies relying on retrospective surveys incur recall bias, given the transient state of mood. Additionally, previous research in this domain has been limited to a single time-point measurement of mood, making it impossible to evaluate within-person variation. This study applied experience sampling methodology (ESM) to explore how mood during travel relates to transport mode, activities, and the built and natural environments. A smartphone application was employed to overcome the limitations of prior studies in this domain. Participants tracked their trips for at least one week and completed mood surveys after each trip. After accounting for within-person variation, active travel correlated with more positive mood than motorized travel, and mood was more positive when individuals talked to others during their trips. However, mood was more negative when completing errand trips as compared to other types of trips. Mood was lower when individuals traveled through places with a higher Walk Score®, but higher when individuals traveled through natural environments. All participants felt less safe when bicycling. This field study was one of the first to consider within-person differences in mood during travel as a function of various environmental and transportation characteristics. The research demonstrated how information on mood could be used to promote sustainable transportation (e.g., walking, bicycling), as well as how urban transportation infrastructure could be designed to enhance mental well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101345
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Activity space
  • Affect
  • Emotion
  • Satisfaction
  • Travel behavior
  • Travel-based multitasking
  • Walkability

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