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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Tenerife approaches one car per inhabitant

Deserted roads are becoming harder to find

On the Island there are 819 vehicles for every 1,000 inhabitants, a little more than the average for the Canary Islands (802) and there are also more than driving licenses

In Tenerife there are almost as many motor vehicles (cars, buses, trucks, vans and motorcycles) as there are registered inhabitants. As of January 1, 2021, there are 818.9 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants on the island, only one point less than the pre-pandemic year. In the Canary Islands, the average is 802 per 1,000 inhabitants, with the islands of La Palma (907), El Hierro (857) and Lanzarote (836) surpassing Tenerife in that percentage. Vilaflor, for example, has an average that far exceeds its number of inhabitants (1,477 per 1,000).

From these statistics we have to extract that of the 818.9 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, in Tenerife, 560 are passenger cars. These data, as of today, are even more conclusive, because if we remove minors (14% of the population) and elderly people who do not have a driving license, the evidence is clear: there are more cars on the island that people who can drive them, even adding to the tourists who can be on the island every day, for which they have a fleet of around 30,000 cars.

With more than 840,000 registered vehicles and 1,550 kilometres of road, Tenerife is not prepared to withstand such a density of vehicles. If all of them, let's say only 800,000 (they would add up to 3,200 kilometres long, with an average of 4 meters with a vehicle) hit the road on the same day, they would not fit. With all those vehicles, placed in single file, they would reach the round trip distance to Seville or they would reach Paris as a single line.


It is not surprising, therefore, that the Cabildo is working on the drafting of the Insular Plan for Sustainable Mobility of the Island of Tenerife (PIMSIT), through a process of citizen participation, with the aim that Tenerife has a instrument that serves to plan and manage how we will move around the island in a sustainable way for the next 20 years. At the starting point of the project, it is detailed that no less than 72.9% of transfers on the island are made by private car, while public transport, despite having 500 buses and 40% of them renewed, does not even reach 10% (bus, 4.7%; tram, 2.6% and taxi, 1.5%), the rest move on foot (18.3%). In this analysis it is said that urban sprawl constitutes a difficult and costly access for collective transport modes) and understands that mobility would be improved with the completion of the island ring road and the North and South trains, despite the fact that the president island, Pedro Martín, has recently said that now guided transport is not a priority on the island.

Any minor accident on the TF-1 leads to endless queues, there are almost no possible escapes

In that same analysis, the sections of the San Isidro-Adeje and La Orotava-Santa Cruz highways are included as the points of greatest automobile congestion. And it is that for a long time now, not only has there been talk of the endless queues of the TF-5 from Guamasa to the capital, with 17 links that supply vehicles to a motorway trunk that does not support such a density, greater than 4,400 cars/hour, something similar, but in a shorter time slot, than what is happening at the Guaza junction, on the TF-1, where almost 100,000 vehicles circulate a day, with great congestion between seven and nine in the morning, when workers from the outskirts of Arona, and others coming from the southeast and the metropolitan area are beginning to arrive at what is considered to be the tourist area and, therefore, economic motor of the island. The soon start-up of the Oroteanda-Las Chafiras link will relieve these traffic jams and the completion of the third lane should put an end to them.

A report, which the Civil Guard Traffic division delivered to the Cabildo in 2018 to decongest the highways of Tenerife, proposed that heavy vehicles do not travel on Friday afternoons, and establish two Bus Vao, one on the TF-1 and another on the TF-5. That same report also details that only Madrid and Barcelona exceed the island in the total number of buses. In total vehicles, Tenerife has a density that is 3.5 times higher than the national average, the second after Pontevedra.