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Traffic movements and traffic jams

back up

if traffic backs up, or if it is backed up, the vehicles are in a long line and waiting to continue moving

bottleneck

noun

a place where a road is narrow or blocked, causing traffic to move very slowly

bumper-to-bumper

adjective, adverb

in a long line of vehicles that are close together and moving very slowly

busy

adjective

having a lot of traffic passing through

cone off

to put traffic cones across a road in order to prevent traffic from going along the road

congestion

noun

a situation in which a place is crowded with people or vehicles, so that it is difficult to move around

congestion charge

noun

a payment that you make each day for the right to drive into a city centre, introduced as a way of reducing traffic

contraflow

noun

a situation in which vehicles travelling in both directions use only one side of the road while the other side is being repaired

filter

verb

if traffic filters somewhere, it turns right or left when a separate traffic light gives it the signal to go

gridlock

noun

a situation in which there are so many cars on the roads that traffic cannot move

hold-up

noun

a situation in which traffic does not move or moves only very slowly

jam

noun

a long line of vehicles that are not moving, or are moving very slowly

road pricing

noun

a system designed to reduce traffic, in which drivers must pay to use a road

the rush

noun

the period of time during which the crowds are the largest or there is the most traffic

snarl

verb

to make something such as traffic unable to move

snarl-up

noun

a situation in which traffic coming from several different directions is prevented from moving

speed limit

noun

the fastest speed allowed for vehicles in a particular area

tail back

to form a long line of traffic that is not moving

tailback

noun

a long line of traffic that is moving very slowly or not moving at all

ticket

noun

an official piece of paper that shows a driver that they must pay money for committing a traffic offence

ticket

verb

to give a ticket to a driver who has committed a traffic offence

tied up

adjective

if traffic is tied up, it is not moving very quickly

traffic

noun

connected with traffic, or caused by traffic

traffic calming

noun

methods of slowing down traffic, for example by building raised areas across roads

traffic jam

noun

a line of vehicles waiting behind something that is blocking the road

jump a light

to ignore a red traffic light and keep driving

nose to tail

if cars are nose to tail, they are moving slowly in a long line with not much space between them

hostile architecture

the design of buildings or public spaces in a way which discourages people from touching, climbing or sitting on them …

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boots on the ground

a situation in which a country's armed forces are physically present in an area of conflict …

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