Big Ideas TXST explores commuting in the time of COVID-19

 SAN MARCOS – Melinda Villagran, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and director of the Translational Health Research Initiative, discusses the fascinating results of a research study she conducted with Movability to survey the impact of daily work commuting in the Austin area in episode 7 of the Big Ideas TXST podcast.

The research overlapped with teleworking initiatives implemented by many employers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and yielded fascinating—and in some instances, unexpected—findings.

“I’m interested in the relationship between commuting and health, because we might not think of commuting when you think of things that are bad for your health. You think of smoking, lack of exercise, sun exposure, diet, all those things. We don’t think commuting takes a toll on our health, but it does,” Villagran said. “So, it made good sense for us to say, ‘We have this whole group of people who are now shifting from driving to work each day or taking mass transit to get to work to working from home.’ We’re looking at how their perceived health and their work productivity changed as a result of that shift.”

Big Ideas TXST is a monthly podcast from Texas State’s Division of University Advancement that goes inside the fascinating minds forging innovation, research and creativity at the university. Hosted by Daniel Seed, a lecturer in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, each episode features thoughtful interviews and discussion with the thought leaders developing innovative ideas to make the world a better place.

Big Ideas TXST can be found at The podcast may also be listened to or subscribed to at:


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