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As in any modern society, transport systems are an essential structural element of the functioning of Andalusia. The transportation network facilitates territorial coordination, economic development and distribution, and intercity transportation.
In urban transport, underdeveloped public transport systems put pedestrian traffic and other non-motorized traffic are at a disadvantage compared to the use of private vehicles. Several Andalusian capitals—Córdoba, Granada and Seville—have recently been trying to remedy this by strengthening their public transport systems and providing a better infrastructure for the use of bicycles.
For over a century, the conventional rail network has been centralized on the regional capital, Seville, and the national capital, Madrid; in general, there are no direct connections between provincial capitals. High-speed AVE trains run from Madrid via Córdoba to Seville and Málaga. Further AVE routes are under construction. The Madrid-Córdoba-Seville route was the first high-velocity route in Spain (operating since 1992). Other principal routes are the one from Algeciras to Seville and from Almería via Granada to Madrid.
Most of the principal roads have been converted into limited access highways known as autovías. The Autovía del Este (Autovía A-4) runs from Madrid through the Despeñaperros Natural Park, then via Bailén, Córdoba, and Seville to Cádiz, and is part of European route E05 in the International E-road network. The other main road in the region is the portion of European route E15, which runs as the Autovia del Mediterráneo along the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Parts of this constitute the superhighway Autopista AP-7, while in other areas it is Autovía A-7. Both of these roads run generally east-west, although the Autovía A-4 turns to the south in western Andalusia.
Other first-order roads include the Autovía A-48 roughly along the Atlantic coast from Cádiz to Algeciras, continuing European route E05 to meet up with European route E15; the Autovía del Quinto Centenario (Autovía A-49), which continues west from Seville (where the Autovía A-4 turns toward the south) and goes on to Huelva and into Portugal as European route E01; the Autovía Ruta de la Plata (Autovía A-66), European route E803, which roughly corresponds to the ancient Roman 'Silver Route' from the mines of northern Spain, and runs north from Seville; the Autovía de Málaga (Autovía A-45), which runs south from Córdoba to Málaga; and the Autovía de Sierra Nevada (Autovía A-44), part of European route E902, which runs south from Jaén to the Mediterranean coast at Motril.
As of 2008 Andalusia has six public airports, all of which can legally handle international flights; however the Málaga Airport is dominant, handling 60.67 percent of passengers and 85 percent of its international traffic. The Seville Airport handles another 20.12 percent of traffic, and the Jerez Airport 7.17 percent, so that these three airports account for 87.96 percent of traffic.
Málaga Airport is the international airport that offers a wide variety of international destinations. It has a daily link with twenty cities in Spain and over a hundred cities in Europe (mainly in Great Britain, Central Europe and the Nordic countries but also the main cities of Eastern Europe: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sofia, Riga or Bucharest), North Africa, Middle East (Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait) and North America (New York, Toronto and Montreal).
The main ports are Algeciras (for freight and container traffic) and Málaga for cruise ships. Algeciras is Spain's leading commercial port, with 60,000,000 tonnes (66,000,000 short tons) of cargo in 2004. Seville has Spain's only commercial river port. Other significant commercial ports in Andalusia are the ports of the Bay of Cádiz, Almería and Huelva.
The Council of Government has approved a Plan of Infrastructures for the Sustainability of Transport in Andalusia (PISTA) 2007–2013, which plans an investment of 30 billion euros during that period.