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This is an actual question from a past test and I’m a former examiner who wrote this IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer.

Transportation is such a common topic – you are likely to hear about it in the listening or read about it in the reading test.

It may also come up on the speaking! Make sure you take a close look at the sample answer as well as all the vocabulary exercises below as they may be able to help all parts of your IELTS score!

Click here for my other sample answers.

If you need some help thinking of ideas you can try my tips on brainstorming here.

IELTS transportation

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer from Cambridge 13: Transportation (by Dave)

Some people think that governments should invest mainly in making public transportation faster while other think there are more important priorities (cost, the environment). Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

While many are of the opinion that the most important factor in public transport is speed, others value areas such as cost and the environment. In my opinion, although there are a number of key considerations, speed is by far the most important.

Two of the most commonly addressed areas of public transport are cost and the environment. In Vietnam, the quality of the public transport buses is very low and they produce a lot of air pollution. However, they are very cheap and this allows the residents who need them the most, typically students and low-wage earners, to afford them. In an ideal world the government would have cheap buses that produce little exhaust, but cost and environmental concerns will always be in conflict. In developing countries, it makes sense to emphasise the expense of tickets while developed countries have the wealth and responsibility to try to better balance these competing policy influences.

Although these are worthwhile considerations, speed of transport should be the main rationale as it has a trickle down effect on the economy and quality of life of a country. For example, Japan has a famously fast and efficient system of railways both inside cities and connecting provinces within the country. If someone has a family, faster transport allows them to spend more time with their family both before and after work. This can enhance the quality of life of working class people. It also means that they will get to work faster, get more work done during the day and have more time to recuperate for the next day. Over years and decades this has hastened Japan’s development into one of the world’s leading economies.

In my opinion, cost and the environment are crucial for ordinary people and the future of our planet but speed has a greater effect on people in both the short and long-term. Governments that focus on faster public transport will reap the rewards for decades and be able to reinvest that money in areas like the environment, education, and healthcare. 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. While many are of the opinion that the most important factor in public transport is speed, others value areas such as cost and the environment. 2. In my opinion, although there are a number of key considerations, speed is by far the most important.

1. My first sentence restates what the IELTS essay topic is – keep it simple and fast!

2. The second sentence gives a clear opinion – don’t sit in the middle – be 100% clear in your opinion from the very beginning.

 

1. Two of the most commonly addressed areas of public transport are cost and the environment. 2. In Vietnam, the quality of the public transport buses is very low and they produce a lot of air pollution. 3. However, they are very cheap and this allows the residents who need them the most, typically students and low-wage earners, to afford them. 4. In an ideal world the government would have cheap buses that produce little exhaust, but cost and environmental concerns will always be in conflict. 5. In developing countries, it makes sense to emphasise the expense of tickets while developed countries have the wealth and responsibility to try to better balance these competing policy influences.

1. My first sentence is my topic sentence with the main idea for the paragraph: the relative importance of the environment and cost.

2. My second sentence begins a specific detailed example about the cost of transport in Vietnam.

3. The third sentence further develops this example by explaining the effect on students.

4. The fourth sentence explains why the environment and cost will always be in conflict.

5. My fifth sentence concludes the paragraph by distinguishing between rich and poor countries.

 

1. Although these are worthwhile considerations, speed of transport should be the main rationale as it has a trickle down effect on the economy and quality of life of a country. 2. For example, Japan has a famously fast and efficient system of railways both inside cities and connecting provinces within the country. 3. If someone has a family, faster transport allows them to spend more time with their family both before and after work. 4. This can enhance the quality of life of working class people. 5. It also means that they will get to work faster, get more work done during the day and have more time to recuperate for the next day. 6. Over years and decades this has hastened Japan’s development into one of the world’s leading economies.

1. My first sentence is another topic sentence that has the main idea for this paragraph: the speed of transport is important.

2. The second sentence immediately begins the example for this – start your examples as quickly as possible. Don’t waste any time!

3. The third sentence continues the example by detailing the impact of this.

4. My fourth sentence further explores the impact of faster transportation.

5. The fifth also continues to explore the impact. Be as specific as possible!

6. My sixth sentence concludes the paragraph by mentioning the impact on the whole country of Japan.

 

1. In my opinion, cost and the environment are crucial for ordinary people and the future of our planet but speed has a greater effect on people in both the short and long-term. 2. Governments that focus on faster public transport will reap the rewards for decades and be able to reinvest that money in areas like the environment, education, and healthcare.

1. My first sentence restates the opinion that I already said in the introduction and the main reason why.

2. The second sentence gives an extra detail that a lot of examiners will require for band 7+ for task achievement.

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

While many are of the opinion that the most important factor in public transport is speed, others value areas such as cost and the environment. In my opinion, although there are a number of key considerations, speed is by far the most important.

Two of the most commonly addressed areas of public transport are cost and the environment. In Vietnam, the quality of the public transport buses is very low and they produce a lot of air pollution. However, they are very cheap and this allows the residents who need them the most, typically students and low-wage earners, to afford them. In an ideal world the government would have cheap buses that produce little exhaust, but cost and environmental concerns will always be in conflict. In developing countries, it makes sense to emphasise the expense of tickets while developed countries have the wealth and responsibility to try to better balance these competing policy influences.

Although these are worthwhile considerations, speed of transport should be the main rationale as it has a trickle down effect on the economy and quality of life of a country. For example, Japan has a famously fast and efficient system of railways both inside cities and connecting provinces within the country. If someone has a family, faster transport allows them to spend more time with their family both before and after work. This can enhance the quality of life of working class people. It also means that they will get to work faster, get more work done during the day and have more time to recuperate for the next day. Over years and decades this has hastened Japan’s development into one of the world’s leading economies.

In my opinion, cost and the environment are crucial for ordinary people and the future of our planet but speed has a greater effect on people in both the short and long-term. Governments that focus on faster public transport will reap the rewards for decades and be able to reinvest that money in areas like the environment, education, and healthcare.

Answers:

important factor: a key element

key considerations: important to think about

by far: clearly, far and away

commonly addressed: often considered or dealt with

residents who need them the most: people who require something

low-wage earners: people who do not make much money

in an ideal world: in a perfect world, ideally

exhaust: fumes coming out of cars

environmental concerns: possible problems related to the environment

better balance: make something more equal

policy influences: to control or alter laws

worthwhile considerations: good reasons to think about

rationale: reason for doing something

trickle down effect: impact will reach many people

enhance the quality of life: make life better

recuperate: get better

hastened: make faster

crucial: important, key

greater effect: bigger impact

reap the rewards: get rewards, receive what you deserve )if it’s good)

reinvest: put money back into something

Vocabulary Practice

While many are of the opinion that the most ____________________ in public transport is speed, others value areas such as cost and the environment. In my opinion, although there are a number of ____________________, speed is ____________________ the most important.

Two of the most ____________________ areas of public transport are cost and the environment. In Vietnam, the quality of the public transport buses is very low and they produce a lot of air pollution. However, they are very cheap and this allows the ____________________, typically students and ____________________, to afford them. ____________________ the government would have cheap buses that produce little ____________________, but cost and ____________________ will always be in conflict. In developing countries, it makes sense to emphasise the expense of tickets while developed countries have the wealth and responsibility to try to ____________________ these competing ____________________.

Although these are ____________________, speed of transport should be the main ____________________ as it has a ____________________ on the economy and quality of life of a country. For example, Japan has a famously fast and efficient system of railways both inside cities and connecting provinces within the country. If someone has a family, faster transport allows them to spend more time with their family both before and after work. This can ____________________ of working class people. It also means that they will get to work faster, get more work done during the day and have more time to ____________________ for the next day. Over years and decades this has ____________________ Japan’s development into one of the world’s leading economies.

In my opinion, cost and the environment are ____________________ for ordinary people and the future of our planet but speed has a ____________________ on people in both the short and long-term. Governments that focus on faster public transport will ____________________ for decades and be able to ____________________ that money in areas like the environment, education, and healthcare.

Links from YouTube

Check out some links to videos that can help you to review the vocabulary above and learn new words and ideas that can help you on the test:

How the World’s First Metro was Built

An Animated History of Transportation

The Future of Transportation

 You can also check out my YouTube channel for IELTS related videos.

Comment below – What do you think is the most important factor for public transport? Cost, environment, speed or something else?

I’d venture to say that…

I’m not alone in thinking that…

Some people might disagree with me, but I’d still say…

All wheeled transport should be banned – what’s wrong with walking around?

If you want more helpful resources check out my private Facebook group, my YouTube channel and my Instagram – make your whole life about me!


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