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ielts reading test - THE MOTOR CAR

A

The town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc sits in a valley at 1,035 metres above sea level in the Haute-Savoie department in south-eastern France. To the north­west are the red peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges massif; to the south-east are the permanently white peaks of Mont Blanc, which at 4,810 metres is the highest mountain in the Alps. It’s a typical Alpine environment, but one that is under increasing strain from the hustle and bustle of human activity.

B

Tourism is Chamonix’s lifeblood. Visitors have been encouraged to visit the valley ever since it was discovered by explorers in 1741. Over 40 years later, in 1786, Mont Blanc’s summit was finally reached by a French doctor and his guide, and this gave birth to the sport of alpinism, with Chamonix at its centre. In 1924, it hosted the first Winter Olympics, and the cable cars and lifts that were built in the years that followed gave everyone access to the ski slopes.

C

Today, Chamonix is a modern town, connected to the outside world via the Mont Blanc Road Tunnel and a busy highway network. It receives up to 60,000 visitors at a time during the ski season, and climbers, hikers and extreme-sports enthusiasts swarm there in the summer in even greater numbers, swelling the town’s population to 100,000. It is the third most visited natural site in the world, according to Chamonix’s Tourism Office and, last year, it had 5.2 million visitor bed nights - all this in a town with fewer than 10,000 permanent inhabitants.

D

This influx of tourists has put the local environment under severe pressure, and the authorities in the valley have decided to take action. Educating visitors is vital. Tourists are warned not to drop rubbish, and there are now recycling points dotted all around the valley, from the town centre to halfway up the mountains. An internet blog reports environmental news in the town, and the ‘green’ message is delivered with all the tourist office’s activities.

E

Low-carbon initiatives are also important for the region. France is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by a factor of four by 2050. Central to achieving this aim is a strategy that encourages communities to identify their carbon emissions on a local level and make plans to reduce them. Studies have identified that accommodation accounts for half of all carbon emissions in the Chamonix valley. Hotels are known to be inefficient operations, but those around Chamonix are now cleaning up their act. Some are using low-energy lighting, restricting water use and making recycling bins available for guests; others have invested in huge projects such as furnishing and decorating using locally sourced materials, using geothermal energy for heating and installing solar panels.

F

Chamonix’s council is encouraging the use of renewable energy in private properties too, by making funds available for green renovations and new constructions. At the same time, public-sector buildings have also undergone improvements to make them more energy efficient and less wasteful. For example, the local ice rink has reduced its annual water consumption from 140,000 cubic metres to 10,000 cubic metres in the space of three years.

G

Improving public transport is another feature of the new policy, as 80 percent of carbon emissions from transport used to come from private vehicles. While the Mont Blanc Express is an ideal way to travel within the valley - and see some incredible scenery along the route - it is much more difficult to arrive in Chamonix from outside by rail. There is no direct line from the closest airport in Geneva, so tourists arriving by air normally transfer by car or bus. However, at a cost of 3.3 million euros a year, Chamonix has introduced a free shuttle service in order to get people out of their cars and into buses fitted with particle filters.

H

If the valley’s visitors and residents want to know why they need to reduce their environmental impact, they just have to look up; the effects of climate change are there for everyone to see in the melting glaciers that cling to the mountains. The fragility of the Alpine environment has long been a concern among local people. Today, 70 percent of the 805 square kilometres that comprise Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is protected in some way. But now, the impact of tourism has led the authorities to recognize that more must be done if the valley is to remain prosperous: that they must not only protect the natural environment better, but also manage the numbers of visitors better, so that its.

A

There are now over 700 million motor vehicles in the world - and the number is rising by more than 40 million each year. The average distance driven by car users is growing too - from 8 km a day per person in western Europe in 1965 to 25 km a day in 1995. This dependence on motor vehicles has given rise to major problems, including environmental pollution, depletion of oil resources, traffic congestion and safety.

B

While emissions from new cars are far less harmful than they used to be, city streets and motorways are becoming more older trucks, buses and taxis, which emit excessive levels of smoke and fumes. This concentration of vehicles makes air quality in urban areas unpleasant and sometimes dangerous to breathe. Even Moscow has joined the list of capitals afflicted by congestion and traffic fumes. In Mexico City, vehicle pollution is a major health hazard.

C

Until a hundred years ago, most journeys were in the 20 km range, the distance conveniently accessible by horse. Heavy freight could only be carried by water or rail. The invention of the motor vehicle brought personal mobility to the masses and made rapid freight delivery possible over a much wider area. Today about 90 per cent of inland freight in the United Kingdom is carried by road. Clearly the world cannot revert to the horse-drawn wagon. Can it avoid being locked into congested and polluting ways of transporting people and goods?

D

In Europe most cities are still designed for the old modes of transport. Adaptation to the motor car has involved adding ring roads, one-way systems and parking lots. In the United States, more land is assigned to car use than to housing. Urban sprawl means that life without a car is next to impossible. Mass use of motor vehicles has also killed or injured millions of people. Other social effects have been blamed on the car such as alienation and aggressive human behaviour.

E

A 1993 study by the European Federation for Transport and Environment found that car transport is seven times as costly as rail travel in terms of the external social costs it entails such as congestion, accidents, pollution, loss of cropland and natural habitats, depletion of oil resources, and so on. Yet cars easily surpass trains or buses as a flexible and convenient mode of personal transport. It is unrealistic to expect people to give up private cars in favour of mass transit.

F

Technical solutions can reduce the pollution problem and increase the fuel efficiency of engines. But fuel consumption and exhaust emissions depend on which cars are preferred by customers and how they are driven. Many people buy larger cars than they need for daily purposes or waste fuel by driving aggressively. Besides, global car use is increasing at a faster rate than the improvement in emissions and fuel efficiency which technology is now making possible.

G

One solution that has been put forward is the long-term solution of designing cities and neighbourhoods so that car journeys are not necessary - all essential services being located within walking distance or easily accessible by public transport. Not only would this save energy and cut carbon dioxide emissions, it would also enhance the quality of community life, putting the emphasis on people instead of cars. Good local government is already bringing this about in some places. But few democratic communities are blessed with the vision - and the capital - to make such profound changes in modern lifestyles.

H

A more likely scenario seems to be a combination of mass transit systems for travel into and around cities, with small 'low emission' cars for urban use and larger hybrid or lean burn cars for use elsewhere. Electronically tolled highways might be used to ensure that drivers pay charges geared to actual road use. Better integration of transport systems is also highly desirable - and made more feasible by modern computers. But these are solutions for countries which can afford them. In most developing countries, old cars and old technologies continue to predominate.

The number of motor vehicles in the world is increasing by more than 40 million each year.

Correct! Wrong!

The average distance driven by car users has decreased over the years.

Correct! Wrong!

The concentration of vehicles in urban areas contributes to unpleasant and sometimes dangerous air quality.

Correct! Wrong!

Heavy freight transportation has become more feasible with the invention of motor vehicles.

Correct! Wrong!

Most cities in Europe have successfully adapted their infrastructure to accommodate the increased use of motor vehicles.

Correct! Wrong!

Car transport is considered more costly than rail travel due to the external social costs it entails.

Correct! Wrong!

Fuel consumption and exhaust emissions in cars solely depend on the type of cars preferred by customers.

Correct! Wrong!

Designing cities and neighborhoods to minimize the need for car journeys is considered a long-term solution.

Correct! Wrong!

Better integration of transport systems and modern computers can enhance transportation efficiency.

Correct! Wrong!

Developing countries face fewer challenges in terms of transportation compared to developed countries.

Correct! Wrong!

IELTS READING TEST - THE MOTOR CAR (T & F)

What is the name of the French Alpine town discussed in the paragraph?
Answer: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.

Where is Chamonix-Mont-Blanc located?
Answer: It is situated in the Haute-Savoie department in south-eastern France.

What is the height of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps?
Answer: Mont Blanc stands at a height of 4,810 meters.

What significant event in 1786 contributed to the birth of alpinism?
Answer: The summit of Mont Blanc was reached by a French doctor and his guide.

Which event took place in Chamonix in 1924?
Answer: Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympics.

According to the paragraph, what is the current population of Chamonix during the summer season?
Answer: The town's population swells to 100,000.

What environmental issue is Chamonix facing due to the influx of tourists?
Answer: The local environment is under severe pressure.

What measures have been taken to address the environmental impact of tourism in Chamonix?
Answer: Visitors are educated about proper waste disposal, recycling points are available throughout the valley, and there are initiatives to reduce carbon emissions.

According to studies, what sector contributes to half of all carbon emissions in the Chamonix valley?
Answer: Accommodation.

What is the primary concern regarding the Alpine environment in Chamonix?
Answer: Its fragility and the need for better protection.

How many motor vehicles are added to the world each year?

Correct! Wrong!

What has been the trend in the average distance driven by car users?

Correct! Wrong!

What are the major problems associated with the increasing number of motor vehicles?

Correct! Wrong!

What is the primary cause of unpleasant air quality in urban areas?

Correct! Wrong!

What percentage of inland freight in the United Kingdom is carried by road?

Correct! Wrong!

How have cities adapted to the increased use of motor vehicles?

Correct! Wrong!

According to a study, why is car transport considered more costly than rail travel?

Correct! Wrong!

What factors contribute to fuel consumption and exhaust emissions in cars?

Correct! Wrong!

Which of the following is a concrete noun?

Correct! Wrong!

What is a possible scenario for the future regarding transportation?

Correct! Wrong!

IELTS READING TEST - THE MOTOR CAR - Quiz

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