PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (4): 547-555.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.04.010

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Implications of commuting pattern for suburban residents’ health in large Chinese cities: Evidences from Tiantongyuan in Beijing

Tingting FU1(), Yan ZHANG2,*(), Yanwei CHAI1   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. Institute of Beijing Studies, Beijing Union University, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2017-03-22 Revised:2017-07-18 Online:2018-04-20 Published:2018-04-20
  • Contact: Yan ZHANG;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41301174, No. 41529101;No. 41571144;Beijing Social Science Foundation, No. 15JDCSB005;Premium Funding Project for Academic Human Resources Development in Beijing Union University, No.BPHR2017DZ10


Suburbanization of Chinese cities has exacerbated home-work separation and led to the increase of long-distance commuting of suburbanites, which may affect their health status. In this article, taking Tiantongyuan in the inner suburb of Beijing as a case study, we focused on the impacts of suburban residents' commuting pattern on the health outcomes. In general, the overall commuting space of the full-time workers living in Tiantongyuan showed an uneven radial pattern centered at the community's location. According to commuting distance, commuting time, and commuting modes, the commuting patterns of the full-time employees living in Tiantongyuan can be clustered into three main types, including short distance-active commuting-public transit commuting, medium to long distance-public transit-car driving commuting, and long distance-public transit-car driving commuting. Controlling for other socioeconomic variables, this study used binary logistic regression models to verify the effect of commuting patterns on both physical and mental health outcomes. It was found that the effect of commuting patterns on poor sleep quality, frequent sick leaves, fatigue, stress, and other health risks showed an inverted U-shaped trend. Moderate commuting may be good for health, while extremely long commuting might be harmful to health. Especially, long distance-public transit-car driving commuting significantly increased the health risks of poor sleep quality, frequent sick leaves, and stress. Improving the home-work connection of the suburb is not only helpful for improving the efficiency of urban operation, but more importantly, is also meaningful for the improvement of the life quality of suburban residents.

Key words: commuting pattern, health behavior, physical health, mental health, suburbanization, Beijing, Tiantongyuan