Task One Essay: Transportation in England

Today's task one essay looks at a table with a fairly unique problem: there's a lot of information to include. When this happens, it's important to be able to pick out the most important information. On this page you'll find the band nine essay about transportation, a list of all the vocabulary used and a…

IELTS Band Nine Model Answer

The table below gives information about changes in modes of travel in England between 1985 and 2000. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Average distance in miles travelled per person per year, by mode of travel

Local Bus429274
Long Distance Bus54366
All Modes47406475

This table shows how people got around England in 1985 and 2000 by looking at how many miles the average person travelled during a year by. The table is organised by mode of transportation and also includes information on the total distance travelled. 

Overall, people covered more ground in the year 2000 than they did in 1985. In both years, the distance travelled by car travel dwarfed all other modes of transport. While some modes of transport, like taxis and long-distance busses, grew in popularity over the fifteen-year period, others, like local busses, became less popular. 

In 1985, the average English person covered the most distance by car, almost 3200 miles. Walking and cycling were, at least in terms of ground covered, far less popular with just over 250 and just over 50 miles covered respectively. Of the public transportation on this chart, local busses were the most used with over 400 miles covered. 

By the year 2000, the overall number of miles covered had dramatically increased, mostly driven by an increase in car travel. Compared with 1985, people had become less likely to take intracity public transport, for example, local busses, and more likely to use intercity public transport like trains and long-distance busses. The amount of walking and cycling remained relatively stable but fell very slightly. 

Why is this essay band nine?


This table is a tricky thing to write about. The main issue is that there is so much to write about. Although IELTS task one questions will always tell you to do something like ‘highlight the key points’, to be honest, there often is so little information you end up including most of it. For this essay, however, you really need to be picky and think critically about what information you include and how. One way of doing this is grouping. In this essay, I managed to find groups like inter- and intra-city transport. This allows you to include more of the information in less time. 


This is some of the interesting and useful vocabulary from the essay above. It appears in the same order as it does in the essay and all of the words below are underlined in the essay.

Get around

To move or travel from one place to another.

Mode of transportation

A means of conveying people or goods from one place to another, such as a car, train, or airplane.

Cover ground

To travel a certain distance, typically a large or significant one.

To dwarf something

To make something appear smaller or less significant in comparison to others.

Public transport: Transportation services that are available for use by the general public, such as buses, trains, or subways.


Intra is a prefix meaning ‘within’ so ‘intracity’ means within a city.


Inter at the start of a word means ‘between’ so ‘intercity’ is between different cities.


One of the most useful types of grammar in IELTS task one is an appositive. This is a way of including extra information into a sentence separated off by commas. If you want to learn more, we have a full guide to appositives that is worth looking at.

In this essay, there are a few sentences that use these well. Let’s take a look at one: 

Compared with 1985, people had become less likely to take short-distance public transport, for example, local busses, and more likely to use intercity public transport, like trains and long-distance busses.

If we take the appositives out of this sentence, it would read like this: 

Compared with 1985, people had become less likely to take short-distance public transport and more likely to use intercity public transport. 

This is a nice compound sentence with an introductory clause, but it’s not too complex. If all my sentences were like this, it would be hard to get a high score for grammar. By adding in the two appositives, I can really add to the complexity of this sentence. Indeed, just one appositive would do a good job of this. 

The key thing to remember about appositives is that the information should be extra. If we compare the versions of this sentence, we can see that the appositives don’t fundamentally change the meaning of the sentence, they just add a bit of extra context. 

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