Can City Centres go Car-Free?
The TL:DR answer on can City Centres go Car-Free? See the video below
The TL:DR answer on can City Centres go Car-Free? See the video below
So I have been watching Detailer Supremo Slay3K doing Detail work on his city since the beginning of the year (Slay’s Channel: https://www.twitch.tv/slay3k ). I have never been one for micro detailing owing to patience and to be honest being tad lazy but last night I thought lets spend a few hours doing this – so I did!
Twitch told me I streamed for 3 hours and I did not even finish the roundabout at the Airport. So yep micro detailing does certainly take a lot more time than I would spend macro-detailing (using zones and roads to detail the city at high level). But you can see my first attempt at using Procedural Objects to customise assets for the roundabout.
More can be seen here:
Plenty more to do as I got an entire City to do with just highway signs alone. But am enjoying so will stream it more alongside normal city play.
I stream at https://www.twitch.tv/palpatine001
Schedule on the link above.
We finally managed to do it! In the Friday stream of Cities Skylines I managed to finish the Valhalla City Centre and establish our very first tram lines linking Brownville to the City Centre and return.
Below is the highlights from last night’s stream showing the tram rides. I am aware of both the glare in the night view and the buffering at the end as Windows was starting an update (derp).
I stream again this Sunday as I do some tweaks to the City Centre especially with the parks and a Radio Mast that is out of place as well.
You can find me here including times: https://www.twitch.tv/palpatine001
Manukau was missing something as a river city and I could not quite put my finger on it. Ahhhh I know how about an iconic bridge transplanted into the City!
Cue BadPeanut and his Sydney Harbour Bridge design!
It is not exactly the smallest asset at 130MB (as it is made of 34 sub-assets) and dwarfs most other in-game assets as well. However, with two walkways, 2 motorways, and a heavy rail line the Sydney Harbour Bridge does a fantastic job at connecting the two sides of Manukau over the Manukau River.
This is what was here before the new Bridge:
Pretty bland and yes the traffic was beginning to bank up at the Trans-Manukau Link/River Town roundabout.
Time to upgrade stuff:
Yes we have floating cars to indicate where the old bridge and roadways were.
And now to plop the Manukau River Bridge using the Sydney Harbour Bridge asset:
After linking it all up this is what we get:
As with the real-life Sydney Harbour Bridge the asset has two actual motorways on it rather than one. A 6 lane two way motorway (4+2 but I believe this can tidal in real life) or the Bradfield Highway and the 2 lane one way (including a single bus lane) Cahill Expressway make up the roadways while either side is flanked with shared paths and finally heavy rail to take passenger trains on one side.
Given the Trans Manukau Link is an existing highway the layout of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in my example fits perfectly well.
The 2-lane Cahill Expresway effectively services as a mega long off ramp from the Manurewa/Papatoetoe side of the river to the Manukau River Town Roundabout. The 2 lanes of the Bradfield Highway that follow Cahill in parallel continue uninterrupted to existing 4-lane highway of the Trans-Manukau Link. As for the 4-lanes of the Bradfield Highway heading towards Manurewa 2 are from the existing Trans-Manukau Link while the other two come from the 2-lane onramp that feeds traffic from the Manukau River Town Roundabout. The four subsequent lanes continue to a large roundabout that give the exits for Papatoetoe and Manurewa with the rest of Trans-Manukau Link being 3-lanes either side or a 6 lane Highway.
Now for some extra shots that were captured in the last game session:
Next up: the development of the City Centre
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:
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.
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).
The rule of thumb I usually follow with transit is this:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Cities Skylines first came out the heavy rail system was more optimised for moving freight or inter-city passengers rather than commuters. Commuters were best to use the busses or subway system if they wished to use transit to get around..
With After Dark and Snowfall DLC’s as well as a few transport mods to sharpen up game play heavy rail has become the favoured choice in moving the most amount of commuters over long distances across a Cities Skylines map.
I have blogged at Talking Southern Auckland how a transit system has a hierarchy for people moving efficiency:
The same principle applies to Cities Skylines as well although a subway line can span the same distance as a heavy rail line. It is that the subway stations are at much shorter gaps between each one compared to a heavy rail station. Also subways being underground save space in high density areas like a City Centre so optimally the surface heavy rail system brings the passengers to the outskirts of the City Centre from the region while the subway moves people around the City Centre free of road conflicts busses or light rail would otherwise face.
Layton City already had a fledgling heavy rail system with two commuter lines and an inter-city line. With the development of the City Centre, Downtown and, the Airport District is the heavy rail system coming into its own.
The heavy rail system works through moving people between hubs or rather Centres. Where there is a station often that station will be alongside other transit nodes such as bus stations, subway stations, tram stops and from time to time parking buildings. The urban development around what is effectively a transport interchange is often high density with lower density developments as you get further out (unless it is a cluster like the City Centre, Newmarket, Downtown corridor or a minor secondary city centre like well Manukau).
So the heavy rail system moves people between the Centres in a rapid fashion unlike the other modes except for maybe the subway system.
If you are wondering about cost the passenger rail system generally breaks even in cost. However, the wider system does post a loss on nominal monetary value. But with ~6,000 cars and several hundred trucks off the road (the City is 100,000 in population) the benefits arrive in more than simple monetary terms.
As for the City Centre that is now developing with the central station and Civic Square all set to go. Now it to lay down the zones, the bus and tram stops and we are away with the heart of Layton City.