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Advantages of Public Transport-IELTS Reading passage sample

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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Going through the ‘Advantage of Public Transport’ reading answers will help you practice for the IELTS Reading Section. You can understand the various kinds of questions asked along with the ways to answer them. 

Advantage of Public Transport

An up-close view of civilization as seen through the microscope of public transportation 


Urban traffic congestion is perhaps the number-one bottleneck to public productivity in developed economies. Peak-hour congestion is only going from bad to worse in top metropolitans across the world, and at this rate, it will only worsen in the decades to come. This led to major parking problems and increased commuting times by a whopping 25%. Public transportation systems offer some respite from this growing issue. For example – each train running in Sydney Railways promises to take off at least 1000 cars from the road. Another solution could be greater population dispersal, from the major metropolitans to smaller towns and cities. It was assumed that advancements in telecommunications would achieve the same. However, research conducted by the ISTP team found that job density in urban areas either remained stagnant or rose sharply following years of decline in the 1980s. The reason behind this seemed to be the fact that a new and better world that relies on human creativity can only be envisioned through the lens of greater collaboration. So, people of related fields should come and work together. 


With that being said, it is equally crucial to bring the flip side to light. Consider the city of Melbourne as an example – In a global survey, it was ranked among the 100 worst congested cities in the world or, simply put, one of the worst cities in the world to drive. You may wonder why this is so – mainly due to distorted urbanization that started with the vision of a new world collaboration. The traffic always seems to be the worst in the center of towns where crooked urbanization leads to narrow and non-linear roads that do not allow easy traffic flow. Perhaps this could be the reason for the growing demand for inner suburban settlements in Melbourne. A particular misconception surrounding this issue was the increase in public wealth. It was believed that the higher the income of the city's populace, the greater the tendency to own private vehicles. But, European cities (which are wealthier than their American counterparts) are proof that this is not true. Despite having a higher average income, these cities do not see car usage at par with some American urban settlements. 


Even when it comes to public transport, there seems to be some biases, though not necessarily bad. For instance – Some cities see a greater preference for rail transport over other modes. Newman's study led him to believe that such preferences boil down to the democratic process of that city. Such cases are not uncommon. A few years back, when Federal money was invested in developing a new road in Portland, Oregon, local groups created pressure to choose light rail instead. In the end, the rail proposal did win and also worked remarkably well. Melbourne's strong and efficient tram network is another such example. In fact, as measured by its track length, Melbourne currently has the largest tram network in the world. 


However, there are always downsides, especially if the system in place is a result of public bias. Though trams are much more sustainable than other modes of public transport, they are also involved in severe accidents. This is mainly because their tracks are often shared with public roads and their vulnerable users. This includes other drivers and pedestrians. Then there is the example of the city of Auckland, which is mainly hilly. Despite the public bias, developing a solid rail transport network in such a region is highly challenging and could even be dangerous. But, the pressing question is whether or not the urban dream can be achieved without a solid public transport system in place, and the answer is an emphatic no. One can take the example of the Australian city of Perth. Due to the lack of an efficient public transport system, nearly 17% of the city’s wealth went toward transportation costs. The same percentage was as low as 5% for some developed Asian and European cities. 


While public transport and its heavy usage solve one side of the equation, the other seems to rest upon public awareness and distaste for vanity. With one-third of American households owning at least three cars or more, the traffic congestion issue is still here to stay. When it comes to traveling locally within the town, bicycle usage is recommended. In fact, this may prove to be better than a highly advanced public transport system, as proved through a study conducted by Newman. Two of the most bicycle-friendly cities of the study – Copenhagen and Amsterdam – were also the most efficient despite having average public transportation systems. And again, as confirmed by ISTP’s Director, Newman, such efficient cities also offer better job opportunities and enhance their residents’ overall quality of life. 

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Questions 1 – 5

Reading passage has five marked paragraphs, A – E.

Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below. 

Write the correct number, i-viii, in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet. 

List of Headings 

  1. Avoiding an overcrowded centre 
  2. A successful exercise in people power 
  3. The benefits of working together in cities 
  4. Higher incomes need not mean more cars
  5. Economic arguments fail to persuade 
  6. The impact of telecommunications on population distribution 
  7. Increases in traveling time
  8. Responding to arguments against public transport 

Answer - 

PARAGRAPH A – iii, as the writer mentions how collaborating and people coming together to work in cities can lead to a new world based on human creativity. 

Vi because the writer mentions how telecommunications was expected to lead to greater dispersal of population. 

Vii, as the writer, talks about a 25% increase in commuting time due to traffic congestion. 

PARAGRAPH B – i because the writer mentions how traffic always seems to be worst at the centre of towns due to distorted urbanization. 

Iv which talks about European cities owning fewer cars on average despite being wealthier than their American counterparts. This suggests that higher income does not necessarily mean more cars. 

PARAGRAPH C – ii because this paragraph talks about the democratic process and public bias toward rail transport among all modes of public transport. 

PARAGRAPH D – viii because this paragraph discusses whether it is possible to achieve the dream of a new world without proper public transport. 

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Questions 6-10 

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage?

In boxes 6-10 on your answer sheet, write –

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information 

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information 

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this 

6. The ISTP study examined public and private systems in every city of the world. 

7. Efficient cities can improve the quality of life for their residents. 

8. An inner-city tram network is dangerous for car drivers. 

9. In Melbourne, people prefer to live in the outer suburbs. 

10. Cities with high levels of bicycle usage can be efficient even when public transport is only averagely good. 

Answer –

6. NOT GIVEN – the writer does not talk about any study related to private or public systems for every city in the world. 

7. YES – Because in paragraph E, the writer talks about cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, wherein their efficiency improves the quality of life for residents. 

8. YES – Because in paragraph D, the writer talks about trams being dangerous to drivers as tracks are shared with public roads. 

9. YES – Because in paragraph E, the writer says how cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam (with heavy bicycle usage) are highly efficient. 

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Questions 11-13 

Look at the following cities and the list of descriptions below. 

Match each city with the correct description, A-F

Write the correct A-F letter in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet. 

List of Descriptions 

Successfully uses a light rail transport system in a hilly environment 

Successful public transport system despite cold winters 

Profitably moved from road to light rail transport system 

Hilly and inappropriate for a rail transport system 

Inefficient due to limited public transport system 

11 Perth 

12 Auckland 

13 Portland 


A – Not given 

B – Not given 

C – Portland 

D – Auckland 

E – Perth 

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