Car ownership has increased so rapidly over the past 30 years that many cities in the world are now ‘one big traffic jam’. How true do you think this statement is? What measures can governments take to discourage people from using their cars?
Excessive traffic can be seen in mega cities such as Beijing, Mumbai and Lagos. This is because the standard of living has increased in certain countries in Africa and Asia resulting in more people being able to afford to buy a car. In the past other forms of transport such as bicycles were popular but today people’s preference for cars has meant that traffic congestion is on the rise. This also means that the level of pollution has increased dramatically.
If the government promotes alternative means of transport, this might convince people to stop buying and using cars. Having an efficient and cheap public transport system should reduce traffic on roads. Using bicycles is a healthy and environmentally friendly way of moving around a city. In fact some cities such as Amsterdam favour this type of transport. The government could pave certain areas in the city in order to ban the use of cars in those locations or they can build bicycle lanes and rental areas for bikes.
On the other hand, the government might opt for more drastic measures. They can impose heavy taxes on new cars thus making them too expensive to buy or increasing the price of fuel so that using a car becomes a luxury. An efficient method is used in London whereby drivers pay a fee to drive their cars to the centre. Camera’s read a car’s number plates and at the end of the month they are billed for using their cars in a congested area.
Question taken from The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training p. 205