Transport in Panama
Transport in Panama is fairly well developed. The majority of the trips are done by car while a great part in public transport. The public transportation system is in need of modernization and other improvements.
- Total: 355 km
- broad gauge 5 ft (1,524 mm): all converted to standard gauge (2000), but for the ship handling tracks along the Panama Canal locks (for locomotives called mules)
- standard gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm): 76 km, converted from broad gauge (2000)
- narrow gauge 3 ft (914 mm): 279 km (No longer in service)
See also Panama Metro
- Total: 15,137 km
- paved: 6,351 km (including 149 km of expressways)
- unpaved: 8,786 km (2010)
Highways are well developed for Central American standards. In Panama there are 4 expressways working, all of them requiring toll payment:
- Corredor Sur: Runs from Panama City to the Tocumen International Airport. Its length is 26 km.
- Corredor Norte: Runs from Panama City to Colinas de Cerro Viento. It has a length of 20 km.
- Autopista La Chorrera: Runs from Panama City to La Chorrera. It has a length of 44 km.
- Colón Expressway: Runs from Panama City to Colón. It has a length of 59 km.
Furthermore, the Pan-American highway, has been upgraded to a 4-lane, dual carriageway highway on its stretch from Panama City to Santiago de Veraguas, counting for 248 km of freeway. Also, a small section of the Pan-American highway from Tocumen to Pacora, counting for 18 km has been upgraded to freeway. The same accounts for the Pan-American stretch between David and Capacho, on the border with Costa Rica, adding 55 km of freeway, and for the newly built freeway between David and Bajo Boquete, that extends for 38 km, and for the Chitré - Las Tablas freeway that extends for 30 km.
Panama's roads, traffic and transportation systems are generally safe, but traffic lights often do not exist, even at busy intersections. Driving is often hazardous and demanding due to dense traffic, undisciplined driving habits, poorly maintained streets, and a lack of effective signs and traffic signals. On roads where poor lighting and driving conditions prevail, night driving is difficult. Night driving is particularly hazardous on the old Panama City – Colon highway.
Buses and taxis are not always maintained in a safe operating condition due to lack of regulatory enforcement. Since 2007, auto insurance is mandatory in Panama. Traffic in Panama moves on the right, and Panamanian law requires that drivers and passengers wear seat belts.
Flooding during the April to December rainy season occasionally makes city streets impassable and washes out some roads in the interior of the country. In addition, rural areas are often poorly maintained and lack illumination at night. Such roads are generally less traveled and the availability of emergency roadside assistance is very limited. Road travel is more dangerous during the rainy season and in the interior from Carnival through Good Friday. Carnival starts the Saturday prior to Ash Wednesday and goes on for four days.
crude oil 130 km
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 71 countries among which are (2005 update)
Foreign Owned Ships: 4,388
117 (2006 est.)
Airports - with paved runways
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 28 (2006 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 53 (2006 est.)
- "Panama: Country-specific information". U.S. Department of State (March 18, 2009). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.