Traffic using Spain´s toll motorway network has dropped by 33.6% in the last seven years, after a record of 23,909 average daily vehicles used the network in 2006.

In 2013, the average number of vehicles using the toll roads amounted to just 15,864 per day, a drop of 4.89% compared to 2012, a figure similar to that of 1996, according to the Ministry of Development. However, that decline has decreased over the year previous, as in 2012 the drop was 10.1% over that of 2011.

A bleaker picture could be calculated when considering the length of the network, as the significance is greater when the distance available is included, as in 2006 there were just 1,733 kilometres of payable roads, compared to the 2,568 kilometres today.

One interesting fact, albeit daunting for those involved, is the fact that the largest drop in traffic and revenue has occurred on the roads which are operated by companies which are either bankrupt or facing bankruptcy.

The R-2 Madrid-Guadalajara ring road suffered the most significant drop, losing 22.5% of traffic, with an average daily use of just 4,588 vehicles. The R-3 Madrid-Arganda ring road also saw a 9.3% drop to 9,346 users, the R-5 Madrid-Navalcarnero lost 12.5%, seeing 7,034 vehicles, and R-4 Madrid-Ocaña dropped 15.3% to 4,652 movements.

As for the regional routes, the Ocaña-La Roda route fell by 9.8% to 2,802 cars a day, the Cartagena-Vera road lost 3& to reach 2,737 daily users, whereas the route through the Alicante area saw a drop of 733%, to 5,293 movements.

The road linking Madrid to Barajas airport lost 2.5% of users last year, but remains the busiest of the entire payable network, with almost 17,834 vehicles per day. As for the quietest, that honour goes to the Madrid-Toledo route with just 1,215 movements per day.

In order to try to alleviate the burden of the toll network operators, the Spanish government is working on a development plan that would see them bailing them out in exchange for 80% ownership of the companies. The remaining 20% allocated to concessionaires currently operating the routes, mostly affiliated with or fully owned by major construction companies.

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