The best-rated alternative in Tenerife’s mobility plan prioritizes bus lanes and relegates trains to the background

The Tenerife Sustainable Mobility Island Plan (PIMSIT) provides so much data that it is impossible to collect all of it in a single journalistic piece. Prepared by the Tema Engineering company at the request of the Island Council, it is currently on public display, at the expense of the allegations to be presented by institutions and groups. The document includes an assessment of up to 17 alternatives that propose transportation infrastructures to be studied by administrations in the coming decades “with a sustainability perspective.” And he calculates that the most suitable is the one that prioritizes the implementation of three Bus-HOV lanes, park and ride facilities, tram extensions and relegates the construction of trains to the background.

The authors of the plan recognize that the island of Tenerife “has clearly lagged behind in the application of policies decided in favor of a change in the modal distribution towards public and non-motorized modes.” And that the current situation shows “really low” percentages regarding the use of public transportation “despite the wide coverage it has on the island.” The text details that this “unbalanced distribution” has several causes, but the main ones are population dispersion, accessibility of the road system and ease of private vehicles on the interurban network. Tenerife (like the Canary Islands, in general) was ordered so that cars could reach practically any point in the territory. And that makes the sustainable mobility that aims to be established now very complex.

The text then highlights that it is “urgent” to act on the territorial implementation of the population, employment and equipment to minimize the effects associated with transportation, especially given the Archipelago’s intention to decarbonize its territory in the year 2040 and comply with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. As a result of these scenarios, experts have configured different proposals or alternatives, built from similar actions in the field of infrastructure, services, general mobility policies and governance. All of these initiatives are or were on the administrations’ table at the moment. The plan calls for them to be accompanied by “mobility policies” such as implementation of Low Emission Zones (ZBE), promotion of teleworking and even tax measures that tax the use of private vehicles.

The evaluation of the alternatives has been carried out following a multi-criteria analysis, which compares and selects the most appropriate from all points (economic, social, functional and environmental). The proposals were examined considering, among other things, the corresponding construction and operation costs, the demand obtained in the simulations, the time savings they represent and the environmental impacts, such as land occupation or emissions. Each of them includes different actions, but maintaining a certain homogeneity. Some include the construction of two or four trains, others just one; There are also those planning new trams on the island or even a funicular.

Well, after analyzing the 17 options, the most valued by PIMSIT signatories is number eight. This includes the optimization and execution of the road projects being drafted, the island ring, the burial of the TF-1 in Adeje, a link project between Las Chafiras and Oroteanda, the variant of the TF-5 in La Laguna, a ring road that surrounds the Metropolitan Area to the west, three Bus-HOV lanes, two from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to Los Realejos and Güímar, respectively, and one from San Isidro to Los Cristianos, two extensions of the tram network, both in L1 as in L2, and, finally, park and ride facilities in TF-1, TF-5 and also outside island corridors.

This alternative would cost 1,492 million euros, one of the cheapest of all; The speed at which private vehicles travel on the island would increase on average by 2.55 kilometers per hour, since traffic jams would be reduced, 75.9% of the population would have a public transport system less than 300 meters and with a frequency of every 30 minutes, the impact on protected natural spaces would be practically nil and the Assets of Cultural Interest (BIC) would also be left out.

After proposal eight, three-B, two-C, six and three-C follow. None of the first five contemplates the projection of Tenerife trains.

For the authors of the PIMSIT, the train in the South of the island (from Santa Cruz to Adeje) is not of “high priority” and should only be considered “once all the planned road projects in which transport has a “significant component in terms of Bus-HOV lanes in the main corridors of Tenerife, TF-1 and TF-5.” Regarding the Northern train, the conclusion is more concise, since “the final approval” of the work is still postponed. The underground train between Güímar and La Orotava is “more than debatable” and the one in the West to close the railway ring does not even have a budget.

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