“An advanced city is not one in which even the poor have a car, but one in which even the rich use public transport”

Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogota, Colombia
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This free ESL lesson plan on transport has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Somehow or another, in the modern world, everyone must move from A to Z. This may be popping out to the shops, commuting to work, or flying to an exotic location for a holiday. To take these journeys, people have the choice of a wide selection of transport, whether that be a bike, car, bus or even just walking. All of these methods of transport bring with them their own advantages and disadvantages, and not all of them are environmentally friendly. In this ESL lesson plan on transport, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the transport they use regularly, their opinions on driving, and how their thoughts on public transport.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Car-Free Day, which takes place in September. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

GoGet | Transport trends that will change the future (and some that won’t)

The article makes a number of predictions for future trends that will change transportation, including shared transport, self-driving cars, and homeworking. It also suggests a number of trends that won’t matter for future transport, including owning a car, flying cars, and hyperloops. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “Why American public transit is so bad” by Vox which looks at some of the historical reasons why it is so difficult to survive in the United States without a car.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including popular forms of transport in the students’ cities, which methods of transport are considered safe or dangerous, and how the roads are in their cities.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with transport such as rush hour, traffic jam and commute. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about transportation. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as how their cities are for riding a bike, the pros and cons of public transport, and what the transport of the future will be like.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of transport. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.


Did you find this lesson plan useful?

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