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Improve your IELTS vocabulary on "Transportation"

Published on May 21, 2018

Welcome back to our series of posts on improving your IELTS vocabulary! If you haven’t read our first post yet, let me suggest taking a few extra minutes to read it first. The post briefly explains the method of learning new vocabulary through common IELTS themes, and provides you with an opportunity to explore vocabulary related to education. In this post, we’ll be focusing on expanding your vocabulary on transportation.

Vocabulary sets related to transportation

Just as we often talk about transportation in every day life, transportation is also a very common theme in IELTS. During your IELTS Speaking test, you’re likely to be asked questions related to transportation at any given time. The examiner may ask you to talk about a particular type of transportation, discuss public transport in your city or town, give a short talk on a memorable journey you’ve made, or consider the future of transportation. You may also be asked to write about a common issue related to transportation in Writing Task 2. So let’s begin our vocabulary sets with sub-topics that can help you to talk or write about transportation in the situations mentioned above:

Set 1: Types of transport

streetcar (also known as trolley)

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

an electric vehicle that transports people and goes along metal tracks in the road

collocations:

take/go on/ catch a streetcar

get on/off a streetcar

streetcar service

streetcar stop

(travel) by streetcar

example:

The best way to see the city is by streetcar.

pronunciation:

/ˈstriːt.kɑːr/


rapid-transit

part of speech:

adjective

meaning:

refers to a system of fast-moving trains in a city

collocations:

rapid-transit system

rapid-transit station

rapid-transit route

example:

Very few third world countries have efficient rapid-transit systems in place.

pronunciation:

/ˌræp.ɪdˈtræn.zɪt/


vessel

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a large boat or ship

collocations:

cargo/commercial vessel

fishing vessel

passenger vessel

operate a vessel

board a vessel

aboard/on/on board a vessel

school/primary/secondary pupil

example:

Nowadays, it’s common for refugees to make dangerous journeys in a variety of unsafe vessels.

pronunciation:

/ˈves.əl/

Set 2: On the road

congested

part of speech:

adjective

meaning:

refers to roads that have too much traffic

collocations:

congested road

to be congested

become/get congested

very/heavily/highly congested

congested with (vehicles)

example:

In my town, congested roads are normal during the week.

pronunciation:

/kənˈdʒes.tɪd/


rush hour

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

the busy part of the day when people are travelling to work in the morning or when they are travelling home from work in the evening

collocations:

rush hour traffic

rush hour times

in the/at/during rush hour

example:

The opening of the new bridge really helped with rush hour traffic.

pronunciation:

/ˈrʌʃ ˌaʊər/


carpool

part of speech:

noun ( or verb)

meaning:

two or more people who travel together to work or school, usually taking turns to drive

collocations:

carpool of (three people)

carpool vehicle

carpool lane

organize/arrange a carpool

carpool to work/school ( verb)

example:

If more people organized carpools, getting to work would be so much easier for everybody.

pronunciation:

/ˈkɑːpuːl/

Set 3: Travelling

long-haul

part of speech:

adjective

meaning:

travelling a long distance ( antonym: short-haul)

collocations:

long-haul flight/route/travel

long-haul airline/carrier

example:

Long-haul travel can be very stressful and exhausting for young children.

pronunciation:

/ˈlɒŋ.hɔːl/


itinerary

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a detailed plan or route of a journey

collocations:

detailed/full itinerary

arrange/plan an itinerary

follow an itinerary

itinerary includes (something)

in/on an itinerary

example:

The tour operator gave us a detailed itinerary a couple of weeks before the trip, so we knew what to expect.

pronunciation:

/aɪˈtɪn.ər.ər.i/


round trip

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a trip to a place and back again

collocations:

round trip ticket/fare

example:

I drive around 100 km round trip most weekends to see my parents.

pronunciation:

/ˌraʊnd ˈtrɪp/

Set 4: Transportation & environmental issues

air pollution

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

the presence of harmful substances in the air, often consisting of waste from vehicles

collocations:

contributor to air pollution

urban air pollution

reduce air pollution

example:

Air travel is a major contributor to air pollution.

pronunciation:

/ˈeə pəˌluː.ʃən


emit

part of speech:

verb

meaning:

to send out gas

collocations:

emit gas

emit chemicals

emit carbon dioxide

emit high levels/large quantities of

example:

Vehicles emit high levels of harmful gases.

pronunciation:

/iˈmɪt/


electric car
(also known as electric vehicle)

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a car that uses energy from a battery to operate

collocations:

electric car company/distributor

electric car rental

own an electric car

drive an electric car

charge an electric car

example:

Electric cars can reduce emissions and even save you money.

pronunciation:

/iˈlek.trɪk kɑːr/

Set 5: Transportation in the future

spacecraft

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a vehicle used for travel in space

collocations:

manned/unmanned aircraft

launch a spacecraft

in/on an spacecraft

example:

As space travel continues to grow, spacecraft will become a necessity.

pronunciation:

/ˈspeɪs.krɑːft/


autopilot

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

equipment that allows for an aircraft or ship to travel in a particular direction without needing a person to control it

collocations:

autopilot system

to be on autopilot

example:

Modern autopilot systems are capable of landing planes.

pronunciation:

/ˈɔː.təʊˌpaɪ.lət/


self-driving

part of speech:

adjective

meaning:

refers to a vehicle that drives itself

collocations:

self-driving car/vehicle

example:

I don’t think self-driving cars will ever replace conventional vehicles.

pronunciation:

/ˌselfˈdraɪ.vɪŋ/

Transport and travel idioms

Using idioms on your IELTS test can help you to show the examiner a wider range of vocabulary. However, when using idioms to talk about transportation and travel, keep in mind that some idioms may contain words or phrases related to transportation, but are used to talk about other topics (e.g. the idiom that ship has sailed means that a particular opportunity has passed you by). Below are some idioms that you can use to talk about transportation and travel:

idiom

meaning

example

get itchy feet

to want to travel

I love travelling. If I spend too much time in one place, I begin to get itchy feet.

beat the traffic

to leave earlier than most people to avoid the traffic at the peak times of the day

I usually leave for work before 8am to beat the traffic.

hitch a lift

to get a free ride in a passing vehicle

Our car ran out of petrol, so I had to hitch a lift with a passing truck to the nearest petrol station.

off the beaten track

away from the frequently travelled routes

We went to a small cabin in the woods, off the beaten track.

travel light

to travel without bringing much luggage

I don’t like big suitcases - I always travel light.

When preparing for IELTS, keep your vocabulary notebook at hand so you can keep adding to your vocabulary sets. Keep checking our blog for our next post on the environment!