The city of Palma has 900 cars per 1'000 inhabitants, second in the world of vehicle congestion only to Singapore. These startling new figures come at a time when the leader of Tourism and Human Relations in Palma City Council has been quoted as saying that the traffic in Palma flows more fluidly than in other major cities, while every morning, there is gridlock into the city. The national average in Spain is 500 cars for every 1'000 people. Barcelona has 650 per 1'000, London and Paris have 700 but Palma has the most cars per capita in the western hemisphere, only just behind Singapore in the world, which has 950 per thousand. If the city is examined as a whole, and people who don't have licences, children and the elderly are excluded then there are 1.5 cars for every Palma citizen who has a driving licence. Juan Bauza, the Council Tourism officer, says that despite the high number of cars in Palma, the traffic flow through the capital is smoother and swifter than in many of Europe's other larger cities. Palma City Council is looking at ways to ease the traffic problem in the city. They are currently studying a new measure which is being introduced in Italy, where cars with odd and even registrations are being allowed into the city on alternate days. This measure has already been introduced in France but has not proved to be as effective as expected, as many Parisians purchased two cars with alternate plates, allowing them access every day. The main reason for the huge amount of vehicles in Palma is thought to be related to the ineffectiveness of public transport in the city. Lisbon, where there are only 600 cars per 1'000, boasts busses, trams and a metro which help to ease congestion. Many northern and central European countries are also turning to the humble but effective bicycle to speed around the cities. Bauza still maintains that the traffic system in Palma works well compared to other European cities. He is, however, concerned that the half a million vehicles on the island will at one point or another come into the city during the year, and does believe the density of the traffic is having an adverse effect on some city residents. Early morning commuter times sees gridlock on most of the main roads coming into Palma and by mid-morning, all the car parks in the city are full. During the peak tourist season there is an influx of thousands of people and therefore hire cars swell the numbers of vehicles even more.

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