The formula for distance problems is: distance = rate × time or d = r × t.
Things to watch out for:
Make sure that you change the units when necessary. For example, if the rate is given in miles per hour and the time is given in minutes then change the units appropriately.
It would be helpful to use a table to organize the information for distance problems. A table helps you to think about one number at a time instead being confused by the question.
The following diagram shows how to solve Distance Word Problems using a table. Scroll down the page for examples and solutions. Example:
A bus traveling at an average rate of 50 kilometers per hour made the trip to town in 6 hours. If it had traveled at 45 kilometers per hour, how many more minutes would it have taken to make the trip?
Solution:
Step 1: Set up a rtd table.
r 
t 
d 

Case 1 

Case 2 
Step 2: Fill in the table with information given in the question.
A bus traveling at an average rate of 50 kilometers per hour made the trip to town in 6 hours. If it had traveled at 45 kilometers per hour, how many more minutes would it have taken to make the trip?
Let t = time to make the trip in Case 2.
r 
t 
d 

Case 1 
50 
6 

Case 2 
45 
t 
Step 3: Fill in the values for d using the formula d = rt
r 
t 
d 

Case 1 
50 
6 
50 × 6 = 300 
Case 2 
45 
t 
45t 
Step 4: Since the distances traveled in both cases are the same, we get the equation:
45t = 300
Isolate variable t
Step 5: Beware  the question asked for “how many more minutes would it have taken to make the trip”, so we need to deduct the original 6 hours taken.
Answer: The time taken would have been 40 minutes longer.
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