SimCity 4 Hints & Tips

The trick with transportation

Written By: Rand Huck
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Transportation in SimCity 4 is more complex than any of the previous versions. If you've played SimCity 3000 (Original and Unlimited) and SimCity 2000, you might have found that sims have very simplistic (and, might I add, flawed) ways to go from point A to point B. Sims would not use highways very much, and instead decide to clog the roads, and they always preferred mass transit no ands, if, or buts about it. Sims would pick one form of transportation and use it.

Well, in SimCity 4, it's a little more complex, yet much more realistic. First of all, transportation is not only used by sims going to and from work. There is transportation to do errands at Commercial-Service zones, to take freight from a factory to the seaport or freight train station, and even tourism plays a role in how clogged your roads can get. Your goal, traffic wise, is to make the easiest way for your sims to go from point A to point B in all of those different forms of transportation.

In the following points, I'll help you get familiar with the way sims think in getting from point A to point B.


The first thing a sim thinks is, "can I use my feet to get to where I want to go?" Generally, sims won't walk much farther than a block.

If a sim looks towards the other side of the city, and sees his destination a couple miles away, he/she will decide walking alone would not be a prudent method. But is there a bus, train, or subway station the sim could go within walking distance?

If the sim doesn't see mass transit as a possible route, he or she will decide to use his/her own car and drive.


Keep in mind that sims can drive to a train station. Let's say that about three blocks away, there is one, and the sim knows that the train will take him/her near the destination.

The sim hops on, and travels to the next station, which will take him/her downtown to around point B.

From Train to Point B

The sim gets off, and now has three possible choices:

1.) He/she could walk to the destination.

2.) Hops on a bus at the bus station right next to the train station.

3.) Hops on a subway at the subway station on the other side of the train station.

Keep in mind this sim can't drive, since his/her car is all the way across town. (Keep this in mind when you make your train stations!) And, being a good sim, won't go hotwire a car in the train station parking lot.

Walking to the destination might be okay, although it is two blocks away, and sims in SimCity seem to have very, very lazy legs. Instead, he/she decides to get on the bus, knowing there is a bus station right next door to his destination. And there you have it: the sim successfully made his trip from his/her house to the destination across town.

Of course, this sim had several possibilities throughout this route. He/she could have driven the entire route, or could have taken the subway at the end instead of the bus.

Another thing to note is that high-wealth sims rarely take mass transportation, and like to stay in their luxury cars, and mid-wealth sims tend to take trains and subways if it's practical, but rarely busses, and low wealth sims tend to take the bus a lot.

The key things to remember in this is:

Make sure you have a useful mode of transportation next to your train stations. Otherwise, if a sim may only walk from the train station to the final destination, that train station is only serving a very small radius and won't be used very much at all.

Sims generally like to drive more than use mass transit, especially mid/high wealth sims.

There is freight to mind. Make sure industries are close to either the city limits or a freight/seaport.

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