An integral part of a city’s inner workings is its functioning public transportation system. Buses, trains, ships, and airplanes transport passengers between cities bringing new citizens and tourists to your city.
Buses use road connections while trains need to be connected between the city and the existing train infrastructure on the map. Ships are particularly useful on maps with large open waters connected to the edge of the map, while airplanes connect the city to the rest of the world through an airport.
A city that makes heavy use of transportation
Each land-based public transportation type has a depot or yard where the vehicles are spawned and where their maintenance takes place. Each depot can support a predetermined number of vehicles and this can be extended with suitable building upgrades.
With the exceptions of buses and taxis which unlock with milestone progression, each transportation type is unlocked using Development Points in the development tree for Transportation
Like with roads, transportation routes can be one-way or two-way.
In a fledgling city, the citizens can be transported by buses and taxis and as the city grows, you are able to invest in other transportation systems, such as tram and subway networks. Passenger trains can also serve local traffic if you are willing to sacrifice building space for the large train stations.
Ticket price affects citizens’ pathfinding calculations. Citizens weigh time, traveling comfort, and money as they choose their traveling options, and while time and comfort are important aspects in those calculations, money can sway them between public transportation and private vehicle usage.
Buses unlock first and form the backbone of the city’s public transport network in the early game. They are a tried and true method, cheap and flexible even though they are very much affected by the traffic conditions of the city.
Buses require the Bus Depot for periodic maintenance and come in two flavors: traditional fuel-operated buses and environmentally friendly electric buses. To use electric buses in your city you will need to update the bus depot to maintain them.
In addition to serving the populace locally, buses can also transport passengers from Outside Connections, and you are able to create intercity bus lines once you build the Bus Depot. Intercity buses can stop at the bus station or they can drop off and pick up passengers from one or more regular bus stops.
Taxis leaving a taxi depot
Taxis are a staple in most cities and that is also true in Cities: Skylines II. Taxis operate on a similar logic to personal vehicles, able to transport passengers to where they need to go, and in the early game, taxis also bring new citizens to the city who don’t have their own personal vehicle. Taxis are an extremely flexible public transport option as they don’t require lines to operate. However, they are low capacity, contribute to the city’s traffic congestion, and are also held back by it.
Taxis require the Taxi Depot for maintenance, but before upgrading the Taxi Depot, taxis can only pick up passengers from the taxi stand. With the dispatch center upgrade, there are no limits for picking up fares in the city. The taxi service can be expanded by replacing some taxis with electric taxis, reducing noise and air pollution caused by the service. This is done by upgrading the Taxi Depot to also support electric taxis.
Tram on road
Tram is a relatively flexible light-rail option when expanding the public transportation network in the growing city. Tram tracks can utilize already-built roads by adding tram tracks to them using the replace tool, or the tracks can be built separately, running on the terrain and thus, bypassing other traffic altogether.
A Tram Depot, which sends out and maintains the tram fleet, is required to set up a tram network. The initial cost of a tram network is higher than setting up a fleet of buses but the upside is that trams are quiet and do not pollute the air.
Trams can be built in the same manner as roads and train tracks: they feature one-way tracks and double tram tracks and can be built as elevated tracks, bridges, cut-and-fill tracks, and tunnels.
Subway is a fast, high-capacity local public transport option. The initial investment in the rapid transit infrastructure is high but due to its speed, it is a popular transport choice for many citizens who value their time when making pathfinding calculations. While the subway can be built above ground and even on elevated tracks, its biggest draw is how little room it takes up when built underground. The underground stop entrance itself is quite compact, they fit nicely between the other buildings without taking up much space.
Similar to trains, the subway requires a Subway Yard to supply trains for the lines. Subway uses exclusive tracks and passengers can access the trains from underground and overground stations. And like the other types of rail, you can build double subway tracks and one-way tracks with options for elevated and cut-and-fill tracks as well as bridges and tunnels.
Trains carry large amounts of passengers and cargo and while their infrastructure size makes them better suited for intercity transport, they can be used locally as well. To create train lines you need to first build a Rail Yard, which sends out and maintains your trains, and connect it to the tracks. Trains naturally require tracks to run on and building a train infrastructure is a high initial expense but due to their transport capacities, they more than make up for the initial cost over time.
Train infrastructure allows you to create two-way and double tracks as well as one-way train tracks, elevated tracks, bridges, tunnels, and cut-and-fill tracks running lower than the ground level. Trains and other rail transports are able to drive backwards and forwards, and thus they can utilize track switches created by combining two-way and double train tracks. Stations also feature pre-built tracks which create track switches automatically when tracks are connected to them, regardless of track type.
Train stations can be upgraded with additional platforms and connected to other forms of public transportation
Passenger ship arriving at harbor
Water transportation features both passenger and cargo options. Ships can transport a high number of passengers both inside the city and to and from Outside Connections. Intercity water transport requires access to the map edges by seaways and connecting the harbors to these seaways.
Passenger planes landing at airport
Air transportation is a fast intercity option for both passengers and cargo. The planes carry relatively small amounts of passengers and cargo compared to the ships and trains but what they lose in capacity, they make up for in speed.
Airports require a large amount of room to be built, the International Airport being the size of a small town. Depending on how many air transport lines are created, they can also generate a lot of traffic between the city and the airport.
Airports limit the height of buildings in the landing and take-off zones to avoid collisions. When placing an airport, you can see the projected landing and take-off zones at the ends of the building, giving you an approximation of where limitations to zoned building heights are applied.
Air transport lines don’t require any additional infrastructure other than the airports themselves. The airports are connected to the Outside Connections with the line tool and the airplanes start traveling on the lines once they are created.
Transportation also includes cargo transport where companies order resources through delivery trucks and vans. To support the local industries and commercial companies, you can set up cargo lines using trains, ships, and airplanes that in conjunction with trucks keep the industries’ wheels turning.
In addition to delivery trucks and vans, cargo trains are the backbone of resource transportation on land. Once a Cargo Train Terminal is built, companies can use it as a storage point for incoming and outgoing cargo. Even with no cargo lines, companies ordering resources can use the station’s storage facilities to drop off and pick up resources and goods, the facility working like a distribution center.
To start receiving cargo trains you will need to set up a cargo train line similar to how passenger train lines work. Trains then haul resources from Outside Connections to the terminal where they are stored until local delivery trucks pick them up for distribution within the city. Similarly, companies send their goods to the terminal as it is cheaper and faster to ship goods on trains than to haul them to the Outside Connections by trucks.
Due to large amounts of resources being transported to and from the terminal, it can generate a lot of truck traffic. Therefore it is crucial to prioritize the road connections to the terminal to avoid traffic jams.
Cargo plane landed at airport
Air cargo transport becomes available when the airport is upgraded with a cargo terminal, which adds an additional terminal exclusively for cargo transport where cargo planes can pick up and offload their cargo. Compared to cargo trains and ships, cargo airplanes are relatively low capacity but they are the fastest option available and not impacted by traffic in the city or reliant on available waterways.
Cargo ship arriving at harbor
Cargo ships can carry 1000 tons of cargo. They are slower than trains but are not held back by high traffic on the roads. Cargo Harbors can also store resources and goods to be further distributed, similar to cargo train terminals.
Cargo Harbors also generate a lot of traffic as delivery vehicles off-load the cargo ships and carry the resources into the city. Furthermore, the Cargo Harbor can be upgraded with a railway connection, allowing trains to transport cargo directly to and from the harbor.
The Transportation Info View gathers all the pertinent information about both the passenger and the cargo traffic which is separated into two categories. The passenger transportation data includes the number of lines present in the city as well as the number of tourists transported and the overall number of passengers transported in a month per transport type. The number of cargo lines is listed in the cargo section of the infoview panel. The panel also includes the amount of cargo transported in tonnes, per month and per transport type.
Furthermore, the Transportation infoview highlights all the lines running in the city as well as marks all the transport vehicles with clearly visible icons, allowing you to get the full picture of where and how many vehicles are currently traveling.
The Transportation Overview panel includes details of all transportation lines, divided into two main categories: passenger and cargo transportation which are further divided into transport types. The panel gives a quick overview of the most important details of each line at a single glance. Lines can be renamed, activated, and deactivated and their identifying color changed in the overview panel.
Each line’s details are accessible by clicking the Line Details button. This opens the Line panel where more adjustments can be made. The overview panel is very handy especially when checking the line usage percentages while optimizing the different transportation types.
The Line panel features information about the lines such as their length, number of stops, and current passengers as well as their line usage percentage. A line can also be renamed in the panel and you are able to change vehicle models per line if alternative options are available. In the Line panel, you can also finetune the functionality of a transportation line.
For public transportation lines, the options include the ticket price, the number of vehicles running on the line, and the line’s operating hours (day, night, or both day and night). For cargo lines, you are able to adjust the number of vehicles as well as the operating hours. Adjusting the number of vehicles on a line is a good way to answer the changing traffic patterns as the city grows.
If a line becomes extremely popular i.e. its usage percentage close to 100%, increasing the number of vehicles can alleviate the pressure and shorten passenger wait times at stops and stations which in turn affect their pathfinding calculations as well! Adjusting the vehicle numbers per line also makes sure that the depot’s fleet is used optimally and that there are enough vehicles to go around.