I’ve been playing Cities: Skylines quite a bit now, with one city that’s now grown from a small village to a reasonably large and cosmopolitan town. I thought that it would be good to share some things I’ve learned during its development.
The most important part of any city is its transport network. It seems that Cities: Skylines has a transport system that’s quite realistic and the most efficient form of a road transport is the good old fashioned grid.
Part of my city is also curved roads, conforming to the contours of the inbuilt freeway system which you can also use. It looks brilliant, but access to services tends to be inefficient, unless you have lots of intersecting roads.
It is best, of course, to place essential services like schools and law enforcement at intersections, which gives those services access to the biggest areas possible, since their sphere of influence appears to be decided by distance travelled by road.
You might find that long segments of road actually blunt the influence and access to some buildings, making you build more than one school or firestation geographically close to each other.
In that vein, the majority of my city is in grid formation, which definitely helps with transport planning like bus routes and metro services, and makes traffic flow much smoother.
Freeways are quite essential for local delivery of goods and services, and vehicles in this game are reasonably smart when choosing routes.
Depending on the map, my preference for using freeways is to have industry as close to freeways as possible, allowing freight delivery to move around the city with little interruption.
It also helps commuters, because the residential and commerical zones can be located in such a way that there is minimal interaction between these two types of traffic.
Freeway ramps are also very flexible, and you can use them to divert traffic to and from your developed areas, or funnel them down certain main roads. Experiment, or like me, build strange looking highway exchanges that are really ugly. Oops.
It goes without saying that each type of essential service has its own area of influence, but you can maximise that area by placing the buildings at an intersection. If you don’t access will become more difficult. It does depend on the layout of your city, of course.