Dr Runing Ye

Mckenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning

University of Melbourne

Dr Runing Ye is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowships researcher in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. Before she joined the University of Melbourne, she received her PhD in transport studies in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering from University College London, UK. Her research primarily focuses on the relationships between built environment, travel behavior, wellbeing and social equity. Her work aims to inform urban policies to promote equitable and healthy urban environments. Dr Ye has researched land use, transport poverty, funded by Lincoln institution of land policy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Hong Kong Research Grant.

Impact of Individuals’ Commuting Trips on Subjective Well-being: Evidence from Xi’an

Transportation as an important component for urban sustainability has been well recognized. Although the lay understanding of sustainability generally focuses on environmental stewardship, more broadly sustainability is comprised of three aspects: environmental, economic and social sustainability. Individual and societal well-being are critical indicators of social sustainability, however, little attention from research and policy has been paid to the impacts of transportation on well-being. 

With extensive urban expansion resulting from rapid urbanization, commuting has become a physical and mental burden for many residents in the megacities of China because of the increasing travel distances and worsening travel experiences, significantly influencing their well-being. Relying on the data from a survey conducted in Xi-an, a mega-city of western China, this study quantitatively investigated the relationship between commuting and subjective wellbeing in the Chinese context. 


Based on the evidence from Xi-an, China, this study found that (1) commute characteristics, including travel mode choice and level of services, significantly influence commuting satisfaction, which in turn significantly affects overall satisfaction with life; (2) the built environment has no direct effect on commuting satisfaction, however it could indirectly affect commuting satisfaction through the path of commuting characteristics; most of travel-related attitudes have both direct and indirect effects on travel satisfaction; (3) the lower income population are more likely to live in pedestrian and transit unfriendly places, are more captive to their travel modes, and have lower levels of life satisfaction; all of which contribute to the lower level of commuting satisfaction among the lower income population. 


This study contributes to the literature by framing and quantitatively exploring the complicated relationships between the built environment, attitudes, travel characteristics, travel satisfaction and subjective wellbeing. This study also informs policies that help to improve satisfaction with commuting and wellbeing.