Definition of public transport noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


public transport

BrE BrE//ˌpʌblɪk ˈtrænspɔːt//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌpʌblɪk ˈtrænspɔːrt//
(British English) (North American English public transportation) [uncountable] Train and bus travel
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the system of buses, trains, etc. provided by the government or by companies, which people use to travel from one place to another to travel on/by public transport Most of us use public transport to get to work. CollocationsTown and countryTown live in a city/​a town/​an urban environment/(informal) a concrete jungle/​the suburbs/​shanty towns/​slums live (especially North American English) downtown/​in the downtown area/(British English) in the city centre enjoy/​like the hectic pace of life/​the hustle and bustle of city life cope with the stress/​pressure of urban life get caught up in the rat race prefer/​seek the anonymity of life in a big city be drawn by/​resist the lure of the big city head for the bright lights (of the big city/​New York) enjoy/​love the vibrant/​lively nightlife have/​be close to all the amenities be surrounded by towering skyscrapers/​a soulless urban sprawl use/​travel by/​rely on (British English) public transport/(North American English) public transportation put up with/​get stuck in/​sit in massive/​huge/​heavy/​endless/​constant traffic jams tackle/​ease/​reduce/​relieve/​alleviate the heavy/​severe traffic congestion be affected/​choked/​damaged by pollutionCountry live in a village/​the countryside/​an isolated area/​a rural backwater/(informal) the sticks enjoy/​like the relaxed/​slower pace of life enjoy/​love/​explore the great outdoors look for/​find/​get/​enjoy a little peace and quiet need/​want to get back/​closer to nature be surrounded by open/​unspoilt/​picturesque countryside escape/​quit/​get out of/​leave the rat race seek/​achieve a better/​healthy work-life balance downshift to a less stressful life seek/​start a new life in the country (British English, informal) up sticks/ (North American English, informal ) pull up stakes and move to/​head for… create/​build/​foster a strong sense of community depend on/​be employed in/​work in agriculture live off/​farm/​work the land tackle/​address the problem of rural unemployment See related entries: Train and bus travel CulturetransportMost trips in Britain and the US are made by road. Some of these are made on public transport (AmE public transportation) but most are by private car.In Britain many people rely on their car for daily local activities, e.g. getting to work, doing the shopping, and visiting friends. People living in urban areas (= cities) may use buses, trains or, in London, Glasgow and Newcastle, an underground subway system such as the Underground, to get to city centres, mainly because traffic is often heavy and it is difficult to find anywhere to park a car. Some places in the country have very few buses so people living there have no choice but to rely on their cars.In the US large cities have good public transportation systems. The El railroad in Chicago and the underground systems of New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, DC are heavily used. Elsewhere, most Americans prefer to use their cars. Families often have two cars and, outside major cities, have to drive fairly long distances to schools, offices, shops, banks, etc. Many college and even high school students have their own cars.Long-distance travel in Britain is also mainly by road, though railways link most towns and cities. Most places are linked by motorways or other fast roads and many people prefer to drive at their own convenience rather than use a train, even though they may get stuck in a traffic jam. Long-distance coach/​bus services are usually a cheaper alternative to trains, but they take longer and may be less comfortable. Some long-distance travel, especially that undertaken for business reasons, may be by air. There are regular flights between regional airports, as well as to and from London. A lot of freight (= goods) is also distributed by road, though heavier items and raw materials often go by rail.In the US most long-distance travel is by air. America had two main long-distance bus companies, Greyhound bus and Trailways which merged in the early 1990s. Amtrak, which is financially supported by the federal government, provides long-distance rail services for passengers. There are many smaller private companies that operate commuter railways for the cities. Other private railway companies such as Union Pacific Railroad now carry only freight, though in fact over 70% of freight goes by road.The main problems associated with road transport in both Britain and the US are traffic congestion and pollution. It is predicted that the number of cars on British roads will increase by a third within a few years, making both these problems worse. In London, a system of congestion charging has been introduced. The British government would like more people to use public transport, but so far they have had little success in persuading people to give up their cars or to share rides with neighbours. Nevertheless, travel by rail is increasing. Most people feel that public transport needs to be improved. Americans have resisted government requests to share cars because it is less convenient and restricts their freedom. Fuel is relatively cheap in the US and outside the major cities public transport is bad, so they see no reason to use their cars less.Despite the use of unleaded petrol/​gasoline, exhaust emissions (= gases) from vehicles still cause air pollution which can have serious effects on health. The US was the first nation to require cars to be fitted with catalytic converters (= devices that reduce the amount of dangerous gases given off). Emissions are required to be below a certain level, and devices have been developed to check at the roadside that vehicles meet the requirement. Stricter controls are also being applied to lorries/​trucks. Car manufacturers are developing cars that use electricity and other fuels that cause less pollution.The cheapest and most environmentally-friendly ways to travel are to walk or ride a bicycle. Many cities now have special cycle routes or cycle lanes beside the main road. Elsewhere, there are so many cars on the roads that cycling can be dangerous. Sustrans aims to increase travel by bicycle by providing safer routes. In the US bicycles are used mostly for fun or sport.