Trans City vs Local District Transit. #CitiesSkylines Lessons for Auckland

Final Part of the Series (Part 6) in Lessons for Auckland

 

In my ALL ABOARD. Light Rail Moving You Around. Lessons for Auckland post I had mentioned the two types of tram systems I run:

Four new tram lines were built with two connecting to the wider city and two travelling within the area forming a City Link type circuit. The photos below are of City Boulevard Lines 1 and two that run as a loop down the new Boulevard and through Forrest Road (one of the two east-west parallel roads). The other two lines that were later built are:

  • City Centre to Airport LRT Line. Think of it as Solaria’s City Centre to Airport via Dominion Road, Auckland equivalent with the Airport-Solarian Line (a metro/subway line) as the express Southern Airport Line).
  • Thorton Hills Interchange – City Boulevard Line. This links up the new urban area to a major interchange that serves busses and an inter-city train station

 

 

Lessons for Auckland?

Do not be afraid of Light Rail and also Light Rail is good for small intra suburb running as well as big trans-city running like Airport Lines.

Two of the four new tram lines are intra-suburb running – meaning the line runs within a single district rather than multiple districts. I can control individual line budgets meaning I can select capacity ranges from 75 to 210 passengers. As a comparison a bio-fuel bus holds 40 passengers while the bendy busses hold 130 and let off a pile of diesel fumes along the way. So rather clogging my nice new urban area up with smelly busses I can use smaller trams to move passengers around while stepping up capacity as demand increases.

Manukau City Centre and Manukau/Wiri would be a perfect example of such a Light Rail scheme that connects into a larger LRT scheme like the Southern Airport Line (Manukau to the Airport via Puhinui Station) or in Cities Skylines the two City Boulevard Lines connecting into the bigger trans-city lines.

The two bigger lines being the Thorton Interchange to City Centre Line and the Airport to City Centre LRT Line both which run through part of the City Boulevard Lines.

 

Airport and NW Lines
Airport and NW Lines Source: AKL Urban Design via Twitter Note: Not final for statioms

 

In this case these two bigger lines run through multiple districts and centres so using the big E-class tram that holds 210 passengers will be more viable (remember my biggest bus is only 130 passengers).

……..

Source: ALL ABOARD. Light Rail Moving You Around. #CitiesSkylines Lessons for Auckland

 

The rule of thumb I usually follow with transit is this:

  • Busses for short distances and feeders into major interchanges
  • Light Rail for medium distances
  • Heavy Rail (and Metro Rail with Cities Skylines) for long distances or high capacity shuttling such as a major transport interchange and a stadium

In Cities Skylines I usually follow the above rules with a couple of exceptions. From time to time I will build a busway to allow busses to do medium distance running while light rail can be used for short distance running.

 

The Laytonville Busway

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But it is the LRT system I have set up that is of more interest as it gives lessons to Auckland as we try to set up an LRT system of our own.

This map shows the transit system in San Solarian City. The dash lines are the ferries, thick lines the Metro Lines and the thin lines are the trams:

TLM_MAP_San Solarian City_2055.01.31

 

As noted before I run both trans-city tram lines and tram lines that run within a single district (local loop running). Both classes of lines connect to each other either at a common station/stop or a slight over lap of the lines in some areas (two tram lines sharing the same bit of road/track) to allow transfers.

The question is why am I using trams for shot distance running? Answer One is capacity while answer two is ambience.

Busses are smelly, noisy and hold fewer passengers compared to the trams. Don’t get me wrong busses have their place including the biofuel bus but in a large City they just don’t cut the mustard when wanting to move people between areas (and between Metro Stations).

In high ambience areas like City Boulevard, the City Centre and Laytonville having lots of busses running around isn’t my idea of fostering ambience. This is why the trams are used in local loop running like City Boulevard Lines 1 and 2.

I can control budgets of individual lines so I can determine the capacity required:

 

So for the City Boulevard Lines trams that hold 75 passengers (still more than the biofuel bus (40)) are adequate while the Trans City Lines get the big 210 passenger trams.

 

City Centre – Thorton Hills LRT Line via City Boulevard

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Airport to City Centre via William and City Boulevards

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City Boulevard Line including Forrest Street

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Lessons for Auckland?

The Northern Airport Line will be Light Rail while I am pushing the Manukau to Airport section of the Southern Airport Line to be Light Rail (Manukau to Botany will be bus).

The first is about capacity to meet demand (The Southern Airport Line intersects Manukau Bus Station and Puhihui Train Station that have heavily patronised transit lines running through them) and the second is about ambience especially in a major Metropolitan Centre like Manukau.

Manukau or rather Transform Manukau is 600 hectares in size compared to the main City Centre being around 385ha (this does NOT include Port of Auckland but does include Wynyard Quarter). Manukau is also in the middle of a large regeneration program that includes intensification and upgrades of public spaces. Manukau is also forecast to house 20,000 new residents (I say it can hold double) over the next decade or so.

Simply put given its large size busses are not going to quite cut it moving people around Manukau nor to and from it to another major employment area like the Airport. Ambience is also in play and like the City Centre having a high amount busses inside Manukau doesn’t exactly work either.

Running higher capacity trams along the Northern Airport Line through the Airport and down to Manukau via the Southern Airport Line would be Auckland’s example of my Airport to City Centre LRT via William Boulevard Line coupled with the Airport to Laytonville Metro Line.

A LRT Line doing a circuit of Manukau and Manukau City Centre linking up the main commercial area, main residential area to the south, the events centre to the south-east and AUT to the north-east would be an example of my City Boulevard Lines.

Botany Sky Train Line Revised Manukau Loop
Botany Sky Train Line Revised Manukau Loop
Botany Line AT version
The Southern Airport Line is Option 1 (Red). Source: Auckland Transport

 

Remember via budget control you can use smaller trams (that can be coupled up to make larger units as I can in Cities Skylines (75, 150, 210 (same as the single unit E-class)) to start with and up the capacity as the demand allows.

I believe in the dig once, get it right policy that New Zealand struggles with (due to our often lack of foresight). While building LRT instead of a busway for the Southern Airport Line between Manukau and the Airport is more expensive those costs are paid off pretty quickly from the demand and ambience side.

 

 

Remember the Southern Airport Line intersects the Southern and Eastern (heavy rail) Lines widening the catchment of that particular Airport Line. You also have the Manukau Bus Station that is THE PRIMARY bus and inter-city bus station for South Auckland (like Britomart is for wider Auckland). So the demand for trams will be there straight off the bat (even if we use smaller single car trams to start with that can be later connected up like our current electric trains). As for bus congestion not applying in Manukau? Well I do not want to get to that point unlike the City Centre and as I try to avoid in Cities Skylines (and when I don’t it is a mess to untangle).

Remember ambience is the name of the game and having busses trundle through Manukau is not my idea of ambience. Again LRT like my City Boulevard Lines are great for localised loop running to move people around an area – especially are large area that has many focal points like Manukau does inside its 600ha area.

Manukau Project area
Source: Panuku Development Auckland
Manukau Transform Project area
Source: Panuku Development Auckland

 

Don’t forget that budget control measure for capacity.

 

Finally and again yes placing LRT down in Manukau is more expensive than bus rapid transit but once LRT is down you will not have to dig up the area again because the busses went over capacity (often too quickly).

Let’s get it right the first time every time!

 

San Solaria City has offered quite a few lessons for Auckland. I hope you have enjoyed this cross over with Talking Southern Auckland.  I might do another cross over next year as San Solaria continues to evolve or when I start a new city on a new map.

 

Happy gaming and urbanism!

 

ALL ABOARD. Light Rail Moving You Around. Lessons for Auckland

Part Four – Moving Through the New Urban Form

In Lessons for Auckland Ctd – Proof is in the Pudding: From Motorway to a Place People Love. #CitiesSkylines we see how the urban form established itself from what was a motorway to a new urban area mixed with residential and commerce.

20171117104328_1

The question is how to move everyone around this new area and how do we connect it to the existing urban area and its transit networks.

It would be a waste to fill the area up with cars and have those cars ruin the ambience of the area. Grade separated cycling lanes are available for shorter distance and I didn’t exactly wanted to put smelly diesel busses down the area either. Enter the trams or light rail system.

 

20171117104532_120171117104540_1

 

Four new tram lines were built with two connecting to the wider city and two travelling within the area forming a City Link type circuit. The photos below are of City Boulevard Lines 1 and two that run as a loop down the new Boulevard and through Forrest Road (one of the two east-west parallel roads). The other two lines that were later built are:

  • City Centre to Airport LRT Line. Think of it as Solaria’s City Centre to Airport via Dominion Road, Auckland equivalent with the Airport-Solarian Line (a metro/subway line) as the express Southern Airport Line).
  • Thorton Hills Interchange – City Boulevard Line. This links up the new urban area to a major interchange that serves busses and an inter-city train station

 

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Lessons for Auckland?

Do not be afraid of Light Rail and also Light Rail is good for small intra suburb running as well as big trans-city running like Airport Lines.

Two of the four new tram lines are intra-suburb running – meaning the line runs within a single district rather than multiple districts. I can control individual line budgets meaning I can select capacity ranges from 75 to 210 passengers. As a comparison a bio-fuel bus holds 40 passengers while the bendy busses hold 130 and let off a pile of diesel fumes along the way. So rather clogging my nice new urban area up with smelly busses I can use smaller trams to move passengers around while stepping up capacity as demand increases.

Manukau City Centre and Manukau/Wiri would be a perfect example of such a Light Rail scheme that connects into a larger LRT scheme like the Southern Airport Line (Manukau to the Airport via Puhinui Station) or in Cities Skylines the two City Boulevard Lines connecting into the bigger trans-city lines.

The two bigger lines being the Thorton Interchange to City Centre Line and the Airport to City Centre LRT Line both which run through part of the City Boulevard Lines.

 

Airport and NW Lines
Airport and NW Lines Source: AKL Urban Design via Twitter Note: Not final for statioms

 

In this case these two bigger lines run through multiple districts and centres so using the big E-class tram that holds 210 passengers will be more viable (remember my biggest bus is only 130 passengers).

In the end there is no point building a nice new urban area for it only to be throttled by busses and cars. Local and inter-district routes need careful mapping out and in this case the trams were the ones that cut the mustard rather than the bus.

Also who would want their new government, shopping and residential district backed up with cars? No thanks!

20171117104801_1

Lessons for Auckland Ctd – Proof is in the Pudding: From Motorway to a Place People Love. #CitiesSkylines

Part Three – The Urban Form Established

 

Where a motorway once was is now a thriving urban area that connects the City Centre up to the main urban area in San Solaria City.

Putting down some side streets, a lane way or five, building the tram line and placing down some Government buildings marked the coming of age of an area that was once a six lane motorway.

Some quick retrofitting of a six lane roads that runs parallel to San Solaria Boulevard to place some new tram tracks to allow the running of City Boulevard Lines 1 and 2, and the eventual cross-city routes from the Airport to the City Centre (an all stop service compared to the express service run by the Metro system (think of it as the Northern Airport Line via Dominion Road and the Southern Airport Line via Puhinui Station and the existing Southern Line)) were also done before the final zones went down.

 

Once the zones went down it was time to unpause and let the simulator run through its day-night-day cycle and the new urban area take form.

 

The tram runs I will post in a separate post.

 

But here we are the proof in the pudding – once was a motorway is now a brand new urban area that links up two formally separated areas.

The night shots:

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The day shots

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 And those lane-ways? Here is a few of them:

 

 

Yes the project was expensive and time consuming to pull off but the benefits were most definitely worth it.

Lessons for Auckland?

I hope so!

 

From the BIG DIG to New Urban Spaces. Stitching Up Two Urban Areas #CitiesSkylines

Part Two – reconnect the urban areas

 

A recap from Part One – Bury the Motorway:

Motorways, great for moving cars and trucks but boy do they take up land and create large severance in the urban form. In San Solaria City the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway was a 6-lane highway that ran east-west along the Solarian Coast connecting the city up to the wider region.

The highway was already there when I built San Solaria however, the motorway still severed the main urban area from the City Centre and Downtown.

The elevated Metro line (Light Rail) also forms a severance and will be dealt with as well as the urban regeneration continues.

But as you can see the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway is rather not that great when contributing to Solaria’s urban form?

Solution?

BURY THE MOTORWAY

 

Now for Part Two

Reconnecting the Urban Areas

First things first was to bury the elevated Metro line that also formed a severance to the urban form:

20171114185222_120171114185215_1

 

As a result of placing the Metro line underground I was able also build three new subway stations that would allow the catchment of the respective Lines to expand. As for the foot and cycle bridges they are remaining up for the moment until the new cycle boulevards are built.

 

Next up is removing the old underpasses and connecting up the two formerly severed urban areas with new roads:

 

And now for the brand new boulevard running down what was the former surface motorway. I chose the new 4-lane boulevard that comes with tram tracks, parking and grade separated cycle lanes as not only I am planning to build a new tram line but also lots of trees, street furniture and of course new cycling facilities.

 

I had to alter the west end motorway ramps that were taking excessive amounts of space. At the same time on the eastern end I started laying down the new roads for the new urban developments:

20171114190313_120171114185921_1

 

Now for the fun – building!

In go the side roads, civic infrastructure and parks:

 

In this case I used the alternative education facilities that came with the Greens Cities DLC expansion rather than the conventional schools from the normal game. By alternative I mean: Community School, Institute of Creative Arts, and Institute of Technology rather than Primary and High Schools, and a standard university.

And yes I also built a new set of Government Offices (and Central Park) >_<

 

The Result of the initial urban regeneration after burying the motorway?

Have a look below. Part Three – ‘Was there ever a motorway here’ will showcase the fully regenerated urban area reconnecting the old two urban areas once severed by the motorway.

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Lessons for Auckland?

Auckland has plenty of excessively wide roads that can be humanised and two motorways that can be “buried” by placing parks above them. Grafton Gully is one and State Highway 20 between the Great South Road and Lambie Drive bridges is another.

No it is never a cheap exercise reconnecting severed urban areas whether in real life or Cities Skylines life. But the investment is most definitely worth it when urban areas are reconnected and the people get to enjoy both new urban spaces from the reconnected urban form.

Part Three showcasing the fully regenerated urbanscape after burying the motorway will have lessons Auckland and other urban areas can learn. I know for sure the residents of San Solarian City are loving the new urban area so much so there is a spike in new Residential demand for the City (word of mouth works)!

 

More soon

 

BIG DIG – TRANSFORM SAN SOLARIA #CitiesSkylines

Part one – bury the motorway

 

Motorways, great for moving cars and trucks but boy do they take up land and create large severance in the urban form. In San Solaria City the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway was a 6-lane highway that ran east-west along the Solarian Coast connecting the city up to the wider region.

The highway was already there when I built San Solaria however, the motorway still severed the main urban area from the City Centre and Downtown.

 

The elevated Metro line (Light Rail) also forms a severance and will be dealt with as well as the urban regeneration continues.

But as you can see the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway is rather not that great when contributing to Solaria’s urban form?

Solution?

BURY THE MOTORWAY

 

 

The motorway between the Downtown/Uptown Turnoff and the Port District Interchange was placed under grounds with on/offramps connecting to the underground motorway.

The Franklin Avenue Bridge was replaced with a surface road while the elevated Metro line will also be placed underground.

Next up will be to have the old underpasses for the connecting roads removed and those roads brought to the surface. Two sets of long ramps at the Downtown/Uptown end will be later retrofitted to normal roads to blend in with the new urban form that will be created where the motorway once was. Foot and cycle bridges will also be reset as well as the urban regeneration continues.

 

This was part one of the BIG DIG – burying the motorway!

Now for part two – stitching up the two urban areas into one.

 

That will be the next challenge in Transform Solaria.

All here on #CitiesSkylines

 

#CitiesSkylines Greens Cities Out. City Going Green

San Solaria goes green

 

The latest DLC for Cities Skylines came out earlier this week with the theme about being Green.

 

From Paradox:

Green Cities 1.9.0 Patch Notes

 

Once the mods I used were updated (Rush Hour and Improved Public Transport 2 are still down) I managed to get my City – San Solaria up and running with the new features going.

So far so good with things like an IT cluster establishing, some areas going totally self-sufficient (residential) or “organic” (commerce). Several districts have an E-car policy where residents must have an e-car while only one District has a combustion engine ban in place.

The new recycling centres have caused a boom in the industrial sectors while the new bio-fuel busses are not that great. That is because they only hold 30 passengers and I have big diesels holding 130 so we have congestion issues on Bus Lines 7, 16 and 21 which are the heaviest used routes. That said with the new 6-lane + Tram road asset out by a good modder I might covert some of those heavy used bus lanes to tram lines.

All in all a good DLC.

 

Some opening pictures of Green Cities below:

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Oh we had a bad forest fire too:

#CitiesSkylines Goes Green

EV Cars and Green options to be on offer

It has been a while since I have been on Cities Skylines as I was in the middle of a research project while now I am testing my mettle on Transport Fever (21st Century version of Transport Tycoon).

I will get back to my cities soon enough but it seems in the meantime Cities Skylines is about to go green:

Published: August 23, 2017 1:00:00 AM GMT+1200
Green Cities

STOCKHOLM – Aug. 22, 2017 – Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order are preparing to make players green with envy in Green Cities, a new expansion for their evergreen city-builder Cities: Skylines. Coming later this year, Green Cities will allow mayors to make sustainable cities, complete with organic stores, electric vehicles, and new services designed to make pollution a quaint notion of the past. Green Cities will arrive for $12.99 via low-carbon-footprint digital delivery for Windows, MacOS, and Linux PCs later this year.

Cities: Skylines – Green Cities adds 350 new assets to the core game, adding a massive selection of new visual options, complete with eco-friendly buildings, organic stores, electric vehicles, and new services designed to make pollution a quaint notion of the past. Players can create more diversified cities, or go completely green as the urban population grows. New in-game services and buildings arrive alongside revisions to noise and environmental pollution, making the skies safer for Chirper at last.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with exciting new features such as: Story to Story, Building to Building, Street to Street: New Eco-Friendly Buildings, New specialization buildings, new alternative service buildings, new unique buildings, electric cars, new parks — 350 new assets in all giving a unique new look to Cities: Skylines I Wish I Was Special, You’re So Very Special: New specialized options for all city zones, plus leveled-up specializations for the first time in Cities: Skylines So What So What So What’s the Scenario: New scenarios, new policy options, and a new Monument to make your friends Green with envy Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear More Stylish: Of course we’ve included a flower-crown hat for Chirper.

As always, the expansion will be accompanied by a free content update to the base game, which will include electric cars, road modding, changes to noise pollution, and more beautification options in the form of parks and trees, among other things.

For more information on Cities: Skylines, please visit https://www.paradoxplaza.com/cities-skylines.

……

Source: https://www.paradoxplaza.com/news?aid=Cities-Skylines-Green-Cities-Announced

Here is the teaser:

Should be interesting