New studies show that car commuters have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer according to Washington University’s public health professor Christine M Hoehner.
Researchers following more than 4,000 people during their normal commutes for approximately 90 days have found that “those driving more than 15 miles to work each day were significantly more likely to be obese and exercise less than those who live within 5 miles from their jobs.”
In addition, they were more prone to belly fat, which could pose an extra risk of developing heart disease. They also found that driving more than 10 miles each way seemed to raise people’s blood pressure due to stress from having to deal with traffic problems, as well as the fact that many end up cutting their sleep short and eating on the run. Additionally, constant exposure to pollution caused by vehicles on the road were seen to increase breathing and lung problems. The study did not take into consideration injuries or fatalities resulting from road accidents.
Still, Connecticut commuters may find some relief once the State’s new rapid transit system, CTfastrak, goes into operation. The project will include 11 stations in New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford with buses running every three to six minutes during peak commuting hours. CTfastrak is being constructed on an abandoned railroad corridor from New Britain to Hartford’s Union Station alongside the active Amtrak rail right-of-way.
Buses will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. In addition to regular service, express bus services from west of New Britain will use CTfastrak to improve service and travel times between New Britain and Hartford by way of a dedicated bus exit onto CTfastrak from Interstate 84/Route 72. Buses will also use the 9.4-mile corridor to provide direct service to major employment sites such as the UConn Medical Center, Westfarms Mall, Central Connecticut State University and throughout downtown New Britain and Hartford. Service is expected to begin in late 2014.
“CTfastrak is going places – fast,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker. “Connecticut’s first regional rapid transit system will take commuter vehicles off I-84 and create new public transportation opportunities along this corridor.” This will also include a 5-mile multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists.
For more information about CTfastrak, connect via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ctfastrak, via Twitter at @ctfastrak, or visit www.ctfastrak.com.