Getting Ready

Match the pictures with the descriptions. Write the correct letter next to each description. Compare your answers with a partner.

 Road repair ……

 Two cars in a collision ……

 Traffic congestion on a freeway ……

 Traffic moving smoothly on a freeway ……


1 c   2 d   3 a   4 b

Listening 1

People are making announcements about traffic conditions. Listen and number the pictures.

Answer & Transcript

A 1   B 5   C 6   D 3   E 2   F 4



Because of the holiday weekend, traffic on northbound Route 101 is very congested. So keep away from 101 North until further notice.


Traffic is moving smoothly today on the Kennedy Bridge. Traffic is unusually light. There are very few cars on the bridge at this time.


The New Harbor Bridge is very busy today. Traffic is moving very slowly across the bridge. It’s bumper to bumper, so avoid the bridge if you can.


There has been a traffic accident on Watergate Drive. An ambulance has arrived, but keep away from Watergate Drive. There is a lot of traffic backed up.


Highway 25 is closed for repairs today, so better stay away from there. No traffic will be allowed on Highway 25 all day.


Don’t forget – it’s the annual bicycle race today. Right now there are hundreds of cyclists on the road. Pine Street and all the streets from Pine through Oak are closed until 2:00 p.m.

Listening 2

Task 1

These people have to go somewhere. How will each person get there? Listen and circle the correct answer.

1   a   by bus

     b   by car

     c   by bicycle

2   a   by car

     b   by bus

     c   by subway

3   a   by taxi

     b   by car

     c   by bus

4   a   by car

     b   by bus

     c   by taxi

5   a   by car

     b   by taxi and subway

     c   by subway and on foot

6   a   by car

     b   by bike

     c   by bus


1 2 c   3 a   4 a   5 c   6 b

Task 2

Listen again. Are these statements true or false? Check (✓) the correct answer.




1   There is a big baseball game today.

2   There is a traffic jam on the freeway.

3   Taxis usually don’t come very quickly.

4   Kevin lives close to Harry.

5   The traffic is backing up because a traffic light is broken.

6   The weather is not so good.

Answer & Transcript

1 False   2 True   3 False   4 True   5 True   6 False



A:   Are you going to take the bus downtown, or are you going to take your bike?

B:   I think there’s too much traffic on the road today to go by bike. It’s not safe to ride in traffic.

A:   I guess there’s so much traffic because of the big football game. Well, look, I’m driving downtown. Can I give you a ride?

B:   Hey, thanks.

A:   So do you use your bike very often?

B:   Not during the week, but I ride it pretty often on the weekend.


A:   How are you going to get downtown? Are you going to drive?

B:   I don’t think so. I just heard the traffic report on the radio. It seems there is a traffic jam on the freeway. They said a couple of buses have broken down.

A:   I guess it will be quicker to take the subway.

B:   Absolutely!


A:   Gosh. I wonder how much longer we’ll have to wait for a bus. We’ve waited half an hour already! Do you think we should go back and get the car?

B:   Oh, no. I hate driving at night.

A:   Let’s take a taxi. I don’t want to be late for the movie.

B:   Good idea. I’ll call for one on my cell phone. They usually come pretty quickly.


A:   How are you going to get home from the restaurant on Sunday, Harry?

B:   Oh, I can just take a bus or a taxi. There are usually plenty of taxis around that area at night.

A:   Yes, but not on a Sunday night. You might wait for a long time. Why don’t you ask Kevin to drive you home? He’s having dinner with us and he lives near you.

B:   That’s right. I’ll ask him.


A:   What’s the traffic like downtown today?

B:   It’s pretty bad. One of the traffic lights is broken, so all the traffic is backing up.

A:   Oh. How should I get to my doctor’s appointment? Drive? Take a taxi?

B:   A taxi won’t be any faster than driving.

A:   Well then, I’ll probably take the subway to the station and then walk from there.

B:   Yeah, today I think that’s the fastest way.


A:   How do you plan to get to your friend’s house? Do you need a ride?

B:   How’s the weather?

A:   It’s really nice out.

B:   Oh, thanks anyway, but I’ll ride my bike. I was going to take the bus, but I need to get some exercise.

A:   All right. But be careful of the traffic.

Listening 3

Task 1

People are describing solutions to traffic problems in their cities. What did each city do? Listen and circle the correct answer.

1   a   They improved the quality of buses.

     b   They raised bus fares on weekends.

     c   They lowered taxi fares.

2   a   They built more parking garages.

     b   They made drivers pay a daily fee.

     c   They kept all cars out of the city center.

3   a   They made many streets downtown one-way.

     b   They made new lanes for cars to use.

     c   They made a law that people can drive downtown every day if they have a special pass.

4   a   They did not allow people to ride a bicycle downtown.

     b   They made a rule that there must be at least three people in a car to go downtown.

     c   They bought new buses that don’t create pollution.


1 c   2 b   3 4 c

Task 2

Listen again. What problem did each city have? Write the correct letter.

1   ……

2   ……

3   ……

4   ……

 The traffic moved too slowly.

b   There weren’t enough parking spaces.

 The public transportation wasn’t very good.

d   The air pollution in the city needed to be lowered.

Answer & Transcript

1 c   2 b   3 a   4 d



In my town, public transportation was never very good. You had to drive everywhere, so there was always traffic. The government wanted to make public transportation easier than driving cars. They bought some nice new buses, for example, and they added air conditioning to the ones we already had. They also began offering lower bus fares on the weekends, so more people would be encouraged to try the new buses. They raised taxi fares, too. I guess they figure that if taxis cost more, people might think about using buses more often.


Well, the problem was that thousands of people drove into the city center every day, and there weren’t enough parking spaces. So the government wanted to make parking easier. But they didn’t build more parking garages. Instead, they tried to keep cars out of the city center. Recently, they started making people who drive their cars downtown pay a daily fee. You have to pay $10 if you want to drive your car into the center between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. At the same time, they have raised the parking lot rates, so people think twice before they drive their car into the city.


Traffic was a real problem around here. It moved so slowly. Last year the government turned a bunch of streets downtown into one-way streets. This helped the traffic move more quickly. Special lanes on roads just for buses were built at the same time. If you’re caught driving your car in a bus lane, you have to pay a fine – and it’s a really high fine! Also, they passed a law last year that says you can only drive your car downtown three days a week. You have to display a special pass in your car that says which days you’re allowed to drive downtown.


Air pollution in our city was a huge problem, and we really needed to lower it. I guess that’s why the government started putting special bicycle lanes on the streets downtown. That way, people can ride their bikes to work instead of using their stinky cars! They also made a rule that says there must be at least two people in your car if you want to drive downtown during the week. They also ordered these amazing new pollution-free buses. They use electricity, so they don’t put anything bad into the air.

Conversation Corner: Describing problems

Task 1

Listen to the conversation. Write the missing words.

A:   Are you going downtown today?

B:   Yes, but …………… …………… marathon today. There’s going to be a lot of traffic.

A:   Yes. …………… …………… several streets blocked off.

B:   And I just heard there’s been an accident, too.

A:   It’s true. There’s been a collision …………… …………… …………… .

B:   Wow! So, I guess I’ll walk. …………… …………… …………… with my feet today!

Task 2

Practice the conversation with a partner. Be sure to pronounce there is/ has and there are as contractions.

Answer & Transcript

A:   Are you going downtown today?

B:   Yes, but there’s a marathon today. There’s going to be a lot of traffic.

A:   Yes. There are several streets blocked off.

B:   And I just heard there’s been an accident, too.

A:   It’s true. There’s been a collision between two busses.

B:   Wow! So, I guess I’ll walk. There’s no problem with my feet today!

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