Some Random Happenings in #CitiesSkylines oh and CRUISE SHIPS

Finally the cruise boats arrive

 

I have been a bit busy on the Urban Geography in real life side of the ledger meaning not much time with Cities Skylines at the moment.

 

However, I have managed to squeeze a few hours in there and there and have continued to work on the Downtown District.

The two cruise ship terminals have also finally started attracting cruise ships into the City now meaning more tourists and more revenue.

I also had to replace all my substations after an asset swap in the STEAM Workshop caused the deletion of the old model that I was using. No matter all the substations are replaced and power is flowing back into the City from Nuclear City!

 

With Downtown established and maturing I will turn my attention to Sheffield Square as well as connecting the City Centre up to the International Airport with heavy rail (it already has a monorail line running through it.

In the meantime some pictures:

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Redesigning the Transit Network #CitiesSkylines Style. Lessons for Auckland

Could Cities Skylines transit network redesign offer hints for Auckland’s poor accessibility to transit?

 

Yesterday a paper was released by MRCageny on accessibility to transit and basically how Auckland’s accessibility let alone equity to transit sucked.

The paper can be found in the Tweet below and I’ll write on this more extensively next month after the Summer Series concludes:

 

 

And yes Auckland pretty much sucks at accessibility:

 

 

I have also written on accessibility in the past over at Talking Southern Auckland when the Manukau South Link was a topical issue:

Manukau South Link catchment close up by Saeid Adli

 

Cities Skylines offers lessons

 

Having to redo your entire transit network becomes a must as your City matures and approaches larger sizes. Bus lines end up a mess as the City expands while trams don’t operate efficiently due to expanded roads and lack of priority measures. As much as you can forward plan it some days a reformat is required.

 

 

San Solaria’s bus and trams will need a reformat as they are not tying in well with the subway network and central bus stations throughout the City. Patronage use to exceed total vehicles on the road but recently it is struggling to match one-third of its previous peaks.

Route accessibility has become the problem with routes going everywhere BUT where people wanted and this has a double knock on effect. The first being less people on the transit network means more cars on the road. More cars on the road means roads and intersections are more jammed up blocking busses and trams. Given the tram and bus network was designed around San Solaria being a mono-core City but in reality it has matured into a two Core city accessibility fast becomes a problem. Also as industry expands into new complexes the population becomes more diverse in its travel patterns.

Sounds a lot like Auckland right?

 

 

 

So time to delete about 10 tram lines and 75 bus lines (some more recent ones will stay) and reformat the surface transit network!

Fun times ahead!

 

 

 

San Solaria Going Green Continues #CitiesSkylines

New Green policy continues

I speak Green in Twitter I follow Green on #CitiesSkylines.  As shown in San Solaria Leads the Way in Low Carbon Future San Solaria gets 95% of its power from green sources while 1/3 of the Districts are ‘Green’ Districts  and several more following E-cars for residents.

 

The last week I have been developing up Solarian Ranges after completing the last of surrounds with Laytonville which is situated at the bottom of the Solarian Range hills. Solarian Ranges is the (at the time) latest Green community situation up in the Solarian Ranges next to the Solarian Dam (the main hydro power station and fresh water storage site). It is accessible by a single two lane highway or cable car traversing the Ranges. Given the Solarian Lake tourism value Solarian Ranges is serviced by busses connecting it to the Laytonville Harbour Ferry Interchange.

 

Green is the name of the game from the roads, buildings, organic produce, residential self-sufficiency, bio fuelled busses, recycling centre, EV charging stations and the combustion engine ban.

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Solarian Ranges continued:

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Solarian River and Laytonville Heights also continue to mature well as Green communities:

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Finally a preview at the latest Green community – Solarian Point:

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Next up: Solarian Point – San Solaria’s latest green community. After that we take a ride on a cable car and the subway to the Airport.

 

All here in Ben’s Cities!

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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!

 

Layton City is Back #CitiesSkylines

Flagship City has returned

 

The release of the Mass Transit DLC caused a few hiccups for my establish Cities in Cities Skylines. While I got San Solarian City fixed up quickly my flagship Layton City was more troublesome.

 

The problem was two-fold:

  • Old subway stations needed replacing
  • An array issue meant the game stalled

Replacing the subway stations (and for that matter having to redraw a heavy rail route) was slow but easier of the two tasks. The array issue (mechanics were beyond the capability of the simulation engine) was something else as the issue could only be “fixed” when the simulation pause. That said after some checking on the Forums it was a simple case of “CLEAR TRAFFIC” which clears the traffic off the roads and starts the simulation again from that point. Given it was a Saturday (industry is offline) it was easier to have the reset done.

 

And from there Layton City is working again and I am reminded I have to fix up the bus and tram routes cause it looks worse than Auckland right now…..

So here is some aerial shots of Layton City in the day and night:

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And the night shots:

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Good to have the City back. Not so fun going to sort the routes all out when the Transport Lines Manager is poked!

 

#CitiesSkylines Traffic Routes Map Management. Help?

Managing that flow

 

So you have built this wonderful large city but you wonder why your traffic is a bit shit in places.

72% traffic flow is not bad but not flash either given it sits in the ‘condition yellow’ segment. This means rather than a City-wide failure in your traffic (Auckland) there are more likely to be localised pinch-points causing a mess in nearby areas.

I know of three two of which are in industrial areas and one at Uptown which I am going to share today.

 

This is the intersection causing a bucket load of grief at Uptown:

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Nice condition red at two major intersections meaning we have a jam.

 

This is what it looks like:

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While there are bus lanes to move the busses the area gets jammed up due to a concentration of traffic going to and from the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway at the top of the picture.

 

So while I know the motorway is causing issues (surprise-surprise) I need to look to see where the traffic is going and where it coming from. Time to bring up the new Traffic Routes system that came with the Mass Transit DLC.

 

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Public Transport includes taxis given taxis can use bus lanes as well unless you use Traffic Manager President Edition to ban taxis from the lanes.

You can see that cars and taxis are trying to access the motorway from Thompson Street which coincidentally is one of the main roads to the airport. Meanwhile busses do not access the motorway but rather are accessing Forrest Street which is a primary east-west transit corridor across the City (and recently included a new metro subway line).

Freight traffic also primarily is accessing the motorway from Thompson Street delivering goods to the Uptown leisure district (night clubs etc) and a major retail outlet near the airport.

Government service traffic (so garbage trucks etc) are using Thompson Street as an access point to the City Centre given refuse facilities are located an industrial complex also near the airport.

 

So what to do?

Well here is Thompson Street:

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Thompson Street serves as a main arterial linking the Airport to the City Centre. While there is a north-south motorway nearby the route is indirect and is heavily utilised by traffic moving between the parallel east-west motorways that run through San Solaria (one runs along the coast and the other runs inland).

 

Consequently options come a bit limited but three do present themselves at ever escalating costs.

The first is to build a tunnel further back up Thompson Street and connecting directing to the eastbound onramp on the Great Solarian Coastal Highway allowing to-motorway traffic bypassing the Thompson/Forrest Street intersection. This however, does not solve the traffic entering Thompson Street from the motorway nor the overcrowding of busses along the route either.

This presents the next option of running a north-south metro line from the Airport to the Victoria Park Interchange in the City Centre. This relieves overcrowding on busses and gives a new north-south route along Thompson Street.

The third and most expensive option is a east-west metro line from Hill Park through Glade Hills out to Thorton Hills which also houses another major interchange. A cheaper issue is to run surface trams along the road bearing in mind there is a large roundabout along the way.

Another option is to open another lane from the motorway to the Thompson/Forrest Street intersection given west-bound traffic is either inter-city or from the large industrial complex to the east.

 

So what will I do?

Most likely open up that second lane to  move the freight trucks through coupled with better signal phasing. This will be the short-term while I get a new north-south metro tunnel built connecting the airport to the City Centre to relieve the busses although that might get mega tricky at the City Centre end.

Already there is three Metro tunnels and a heavy rail tunnel in that area so some deep tunnelling might be needed. Or I could run elevated mono-rail 😛 .

With the new east-west link I might run it as trams given a metro line (elevated) is already in the area. As for a bypass tunnel to the motorway? Last resort.

 

Lot to think about but the new Traffic Routes Manager certainly helps.

 

#CitiesSkylines Transit Maps

San Solaria uncovered

 

If you have the Transport Line Manager Mod you are able to produce Metro-type transit maps of your City. At the moment it only covers Metro, heavy rail, tram and ferries but it looks pretty good for a product only in Alpha-testing.

 

I got a transit map set up for San Solarian City and this is what it looks like:

San Solaria Transit Map 1TLM_MAP_San Solarian City_2044.02.03

 

Please ignore one of the tram lines going off the map as it seems one of the tunnels is causing a glitch out. But you can see the Metro lines (medium thickness), the tram lines (thin lines) and the ferries (dashed lines). If I had heavy rail going you would see thick lines also on the map. Bus lines are at the moment not included and if they were I hope they would be allowed to be published separately to save clutter in a large city.

The PDF version above is set to A2 paper size and best zoomed at 400% to get a clear look. The file itself is under a megabyte in size so it wont cause your phone to do a Three Mile Island on you.

 

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The above photo is roughly in line with the transit map so you can work out roughly how things are laid out.

As the city continues to expand so will the transit system. I will keep you posted on how it works out.

 

FIRE! Also Power Stations

This is why you don’t smoke in a forest

 

Someone careless buffoon caused a fire at the San Solarian Forest last night triggering a response from nine fire trucks and a fleet of 10 fire helicopters to put the blaze out. Damage was contained to the trees and some minor damage to production buildings.

Investigations are underway on who started the fire:

 

 

Power Stations

Night time mode is when I leave the simulator to run on Cities Skylines if I had done a large scale urban development project in the previous day cycle. Night time mode also means some pretty looking pictures of your city at night time as well.

So let’s follow around a GT2000 as it decided to pass just about every power station in the City:

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Contrary to Twitter claims it was not Minister Gerry Brownlee trying to find a car park after he couldn’t find one in Christchurch City Centre the other day…..

 

As for power ratios in San Solarian City:

  • Nuclear Power: 640MW/h
  • Hydro: 500MW/h when the dams are at full power. Average is about 360MW/h
  • Onshore wind: 130MW/h
  • Offshore wind: 300MW/h
  • Oil (mothballed): 300MW/h

The City currently consumes 1,300MW/h of power with geothermal central heating supplying another 300MW/h of thermal heat equivalent.

 

Layton City Map Renderings Ctd

How does Layton City look in Maps mode

 

Seeing your Cities Skyline cities as “photographs” is one thing, seeing your city in Google Maps mode is something else.

Periodically I will run the Cimotographier mod that generates the maps for Layton City – both as an overview and close-up renders.

 

The overview render is the “low resolution” shot that you can load on a phone (1200 x 900) while the close up is 12,000 x 9,000 and would recommend for desktops only.

 

The Maps of Layton City:

layton-city-mk2-render-2-0

 

layton-city-mk2-render-2-1
Close up render. Warning: large size

 

One thing missing from the maps is the cycle boulevards that run extensively in the City. The mod for the maps needs to be updated to reflect the boulevards and where they are placed. Otherwise you would be able to see the extensive cycle network system in Layton City.

 

Photos of Layton City

 

More drive through photos later.