Activity 4: Cars, cars and more cars

Question 1

Every minute of every day, brand new cars roll off the assembly lines in the world’s car factories and join the number of vehicles already on the planet. In 2010, there were more than one billion cars on Earth. This is a huge number of cars!

If you were to put all these cars bumper to bumper in a great long line, how long do you think the line would be?

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Choose from among the following answers.

  1. According to the 2010 statistics on the number of cars on Earth, you could go right across the Pacific Ocean from Hong Kong (China) to Vancouver (Canada).
  2. According to the 2010 statistics on the number of cars on Earth, you could go right from the North Pole all the way down to the South Pole.
  3. According to the 2010 statistics on the number of cars on Earth, you could go 100 times around the centre of the Earth, right where the equator is.
  4. According to the 2010 statistics on the number of cars on Earth, you could go once around the world at the equator.

Question 2

You now have a better idea of just how many cars there are on the planet. Besides the cars that are already on the road, new cars are manufactured every day in car factories all over the world.

How many new cars do you think are produced each minute around the world?

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Click on the choices below to see the answers.

  1. Over 100 cars per minute
  2. Over a million cars per minute
  3. Between 40 and 50 cars per minute

Question 3

What do you think Frédéric was trying to express with this drawing?

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Click on the choices below to see the answers.

  1. Frédéric loves auto racing.
  2. There are lots of cars on the streets.
  3. Cars create a lot of pollution.

Question 4

Among the following pollutants, identify the ones that come from cars.

Click on the choices below to see the answers.

  1. Helium
  2. Carbon dioxide (also known as CO2)
  3. Particulate matter
  4. Air bubbles
  5. Tropospheric ozone

Question 5

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On this poster drawn by Frédéric, what mode(s) of transport do you see polluting the air in this city?

Click on the choices below to see the answers.

  1. Electric tram (streetcar)
  2. Cars
  3. Pedestrians
  4. Cars and trucks
  5. Factories

Question 6

You know that cars put pollutants into the air. But are cars sometimes criticized for other reasons?

Read each statement below, and choose whether it is true or false.

  1. Thanks to the car, people are more active.
    • True
    • False
  2. There are lots of accidents involving cars.
    • True
    • False
  3. Having a car encourages people to live downtown.
    • True
    • False
  4. Cars encourage more people to use bicycles.
    • True
    • False
  5. The more cars there are on the planet, the more roads, highways, bridges and parking lots need to be built.
    • False
    • True
  6. Manufacturing cars doesn’t cause pollution.
    • True
    • False

Question 7

You’re downtown on a Monday morning. You look around and count 100 cars. You notice that there is only one person in each car. On Tuesday, you go back to the same spot. This time, you don’t see any cars; instead, you see 4 buses, each of which carries 30 people.

Enter your response and click on the button OK to see the answers.

  1. How many people did you see on Monday morning?

  2. How many people did you see on Tuesday morning?

  3. How many cars did you see on Monday morning?

  4. How many cars did you see on Tuesday morning?

  5. Cars and buses both give off exhaust that contains pollutants. In your opinion, do 4 buses cause the same amount of pollution as 100 cars?
    • Yes
    • No
  6. In your opinion, do 100 cars take up more space than 4 buses?
    • Yes
    • No
  7. Which is better for the environment: the situation you saw on Monday, or the one you saw on Tuesday?
    • Monday
    • Tuesday

Question 8

In many countries, public transit has changed greatly over the years.

The choices below list past and present modes of public transit. Rank them in ascending order (from oldest to newest).

1: Streetcar and steam locomotive   

The streetcar (also known as a trolley car or tram) is a type of light urban railway that moves about the city streets on a set of tracks.


To power the train, coal was used to heat water and convert it to steam. This steam would drive the locomotive by making the pistons in the engine turn the wheels.


2: High-speed train   

High-speed trains, which are powered by electricity, can travel at speeds of up to 320 km/h.


3: Animal-drawn carriage or cart   

Horses, donkeys, llamas, and even dogs are some of the animals that have been used in the past (and are still used today) to transport people.

4: Subway   

A subway (known as a ‘metro’ in some cities) is a type of underground train propelled by electricity. These trains are found in big cities.


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Question 9

What form of public transit is used in your country?

Click on the choices that apply below.


Question 10 :

Want to find out more?

Slide your cursor over the map below to see the different kinds of public transit used around the world.

A final word

You’ve now seen a great many modes of transport, drawn, painted and illustrated by Frédéric Back. Frédéric’s images show how these modes of transport have changed over time. As you may have guessed, Frédéric is very concerned about the impact of transportation on our environment. He has addressed this concern in his own way, through his artistic talent. One day soon, you’ll enter the working world. Maybe then, you can put your talents to serve the causes you believe in. It’s a very rewarding way to invest in your community!

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