Cities Skylines Traffic Tips

Just a busy day in the city

Cities Skylines Traffic Tips

In Cities Skylines traffic issues appear pretty fast and are hard to manage if you don’t follow certain rules. In fact, that’s usually the most complicated challenge for newbies. In this post, you will find both general rules and some Cities Skylines traffic tips that will help you build a city without constant traffic jams.

Cities Skylines Traffic Management

First, you need to understand the process of traffic flow generation.

  • Citizens use personal vehicles to get from residential areas to commercial and industrial zones and other places of work and study. It is important that they don’t travel between residential zones – this mechanic is absent in this game. Also, keep in mind that high-density zones produce more traffic than low-density ones.
  • Service vehicles complete their tasks (e.g. police car moves through the city to catch a criminal)
  • Trucks move from and to industrial zones. They may export/import goods, move them to cargo stations or airports and deliver products to commercial zones.
  • Buses move according to the bus lines, taxis move like personal transport
  • Tourists may use personal cars as well

In Cities Skylines traffic is so important that if you have constant jams then you get numerous consequent issues. Commercial and industrial zones don’t get enough workers and goods, garbage is not collected and dead bodies aren’t taken to cemeteries, and houses become abandoned.

So, we understand the importance of Cities Skylines traffic management and realize how the traffic is generated. Now let’s learn how to organize your roads to avoid traffic issues.

A lot of people come to see the old town these days

City Skylines Road Tips

Cities Skylines road layout should be built in accordance with road hierarchy. This allows distributing traffic across the city. You can learn more tips on city layout here.

  • Highways should connect big regions of your city and cross the entire map. Your citizens should have enough entrances and exits from/to the highway to avoid jams and too distant trips. Highways require a lot of space so it’s better to plan them at the beginning of the game
  • In Cities Skylines highway exit usually should be connected to a six-lane road. Such roads should connect your districts and may have bus lines if you prefer public transport in this region.
  • In parallel to 6-lane roads, I usually place smaller 4-lane roads. They are good for rather dense commercial, residential, and office districts.
  • Suburbs and other less dense areas are served by usual 2-lane roads.

When planning your city road layout you need to think about where to put the buildings which attract a lot of traffic. For example, an airport or spaceport is to be placed in locations with wide roads and a good public transportation system. This is to be considered in the earlier stages of the game even before you unlock those buildings.

Remember, your goal is to avoid traffic going through areas that are not its target. So if you have a residential area between your industrial district and let’s say a cargo harbor then your goal is to avoid the trucks going through the residential area. To do this, you need to learn the mechanics of how cars decide which way to go.

This cargo terminal is connected to Highway to avoid heavy traffic in the downtown

How Vehicles Choose the Right Road

Now we know how traffic is generated and what’s the best Cities Skylines road connection approach. Let’s figure out how the cars in the game decide which road to choose.

  • Roads actually have different speed limits. The wider the road, the higher the speed limit is.
  • Road connection angle has an influence on speed – cars have to go slower when the roads are connected under the obtuse angle.
  • Vehicles always choose the fastest way even when there is a shorter one
  • But at the same time, the game ignores traffic jams because it considers the speed limit of the road but not the load

What does the mean for you?

  • Pay attention to the road connection angle when planning your road network
  • If there is a short way it doesn’t mean they will choose it
  • In Cities Skylines highway is the main artery of your traffic. If it’s placed properly, vehicles will travel by it and won’t create jams
  • And remember the road hierarchy
Sometimes the way drivers choose the lane may be buffling

Cities Skylines Lane Management

Unlike the real drivers in most cities, your virtual citizens are well-disciplined and they know your city well. That’s why they take the lane they need in advance.

This has another side. Sometimes you will notice a traffic jam because everyone is driving in the same lane while there are completely free lanes next to them.

This just means you have insufficient road capacity for some areas so you need to expand. For example, you may replace the smallest highway exit with a 6-line highway segment that connects directly to a smaller road in the district. In Cities Skylines lane management is all about detecting bottlenecks and removing them.

Cities Skylines Road Tips on Interchange Management

In my first playthrough, I didn’t get how to build bridges in city skylines and as a result, I had numerous traffic jams because my roads were crossing railroads on the same level. Funny to recall.

Interchange is just about always bad in this game because it triggers a conflict between traffic flows. And this means your traffic gets slower. When possible – try to avoid interchanges and use the ability to build bridges and tunnels.

When it comes to crossing between the railroad and a regular road you should use bridges and tunnels at all times. Basically, your city transport should exist on three levels – underground, on the ground and above the ground. In Cities Skylines bridges over streets are a solution for numerous traffic issues.

The bridges are to be used not only above the river. For example, you can build one highway line above another to avoid the same level crossing which could end up in huge traffic jams. The art of building Cities Skylines intersections for highways is a topic for a separate article.

Using Roundabouts Is Among Top Cities Skyline Traffic Tips

That’s another thing that’s often neglected by newbies. Roundabouts are a great solution to avoid traffic jams on the same-level intersections of heavily loaded districts. I usually place them in tourist and office regions, put some unique building in the center and add some crosswalks and bike roads for proper access. 

Alternatively, you can add a road to the center and this will provide you with even more capacity. Anyway, use roundabouts and get creative!

Public Transportation as a Solution

What does the management of current megapolises do to reduce traffic? Yep, they develop a public transportation system. 

Thus, one of the most obvious City Skylines traffic tips is that you need to pay increased attention to public transport. 

There are two general kinds of public transport – the one which uses the same road system as cars do and the one which has its own infrastructure. 

Buses and taxis are participants of the regular traffic so they don’t offload your roads completely (though it’s better to put 30 people on a bus instead of having all of them going by a personal vehicle). Don’t forget to use roads with a bus lane in districts that have a lot of bus lines. Also, manage the number of vehicles on a bus line because in cities skylines bus lines may even worsen the traffic situation if multiple lines full of empty buses stop in the same place.

Metro and trams with separate rails don’t use your regular roads so that’s a great thing to reduce the load. However, you need to place those properly – they need to connect residential areas with offices or commercial zones. Also, avoid creating competition between your subway and buses because there will be no winner.

Public transportation is a topic for a separate guide but having it arranged properly you will solve a lot of traffic issues.

Bikes and Walks – Traffic Tips Cities Skylines

Many cities in Europe don’t have constant traffic jams in their city center because of the fact that many people prefer going by bike. And that’s another thing from real life you should implement!

Use separate bike roads, roads with bike lanes and the bike policy to make your citizens using bikes for small distance trips. Such a bike infrastructure doesn’t require a lot of space and also helps you avoid noise pollution and traffic jams.

Pedestrian traffic is often neglected by newbies but that’s a significant factor in this game. People actually can travel on foot if this is organized properly. Place crosswalks, build tunnels and bridges next to highways and railroads to allow your citizens to get to the needed area without taking a car or a bus.

Cities Skylines Road Maintenance

And don’t forget to place road maintenance buildings. As it was stated above, speed matters in the game and when the road services work poorly, the speed drops. 

These are all general Cities Skylines tips and tricks on traffic. If you already have the issues then check out how to manage traffic issues in this game.

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