#CitiesSkylines Lessons with Planning

What Cities Skylines teaches me


With Easter gone it is back to the daily grind and all those social media posts about our transport sucking one way or the other no matter mode. Over the long weekend I gave Cities Skylines a good thrashing with Neo Layton City continuing to be expanded.

The population stands currently at 76,000 with the international airport just built before I logged off for the day. One of the quirks of placing the bus station next to the international airport (and not have its subway station activated yet) is that my 140 seater bendy buses were even struggling to cope at five-minute frequencies on the Route 27 journey which links the airport to two other major bus stations and the main subway metro line (Metro #1). Even the taxi depot I built with 50 taxis started to struggle as well.

While the subway station at the airport will be activated allowing a second but more direct route to the City Centre (freeing up Route 27 which shuttles people to the existing City Centre lines (Metro #1 and #2) via two other bus stations) I was pondering while looking at the Neo Layton City Statistics evaluating the weekend’s work in preparation for the next game session. Meaning yes I evaluate what I have done in preparation/planning for the next round of objectives.


Some facts with Neo Layton City and in wider extent Cities Skylines:

  • Neo Layton City runs on the European Theme which I believe the citizens are more inclined to take public transport than the American Themes
  • I run the Improved Public Transport and Transport Manager Mods to help manage transit system
  • Traffic President and Traffic ++ V2 are also run which allow me to handle individual traffic lanes and intersections (including placement and phasing of lights or give-way/stop signs)
  • Apart from cars and trucks the following transport features are used:
    • Bus/Taxi lanes
    • Cycle lanes (and cycle paths)
    • Bus Stations
    • Metro (Subway)
    • Taxis
    • Freight Train Depots
    • Trams
    • Passenger rail is not used owing to limitations
  • Use of mass transit depends on distance
    • Trams are for short distance running
    • Buses are mainly for medium distance often between two bus stations. Buses are also used in low density areas where trams are not in place there
    • Metro/subway is used for long distance or very dense areas (like between a stadium and a district with either Leisure or Tourism specialisations active given the amount of people moving between the two). The Metro’s as Metro #1 line would attest to carry more than the other modes given their capacity (420 passengers to a bus or tram’s 140) and high speed (120km/h)
    • Citizens do use bicycles to extend their commute outside a mass transit line or route
  • Any given time up to 12% of the population use public transport in Neo Layton City so up to 9,120 with another 1,000 using bicycles
  • Traffic congestion is usually round at motorway interchanges and surrounding intersections from those interchanges



And that is just the transport side of things to think about.

Given I use the Districts policies setting extensively what zones I am going to place in each District based on that District’s purpose and how they are to be linked up with transport systems is something else I evaluate and plan ahead with each session.

A Tourism or Leisure commercial district is zoned very differently (lots of commercial and less residential due to noise) to say a “City Centre” type district which would contain more Office and Residential zoning with the Education Boost policy enabled given a University is close by as well. Running a Farming or Timber Industrial specialisation is different from running Ore, Oil or even standard heavy industry given environmental and traffic effects (I often place residential amongst the farms but would not do that with an oil district).

Then there is your parks, the police, fire, grave yards and even trees as I like to have my urban scape filled with lot of trees for you to get lost in down your cycle path.


The end goal is to have the people and businesses happy, the City not going broke and the people and freight moving along efficiently.


Despite Cities Skylines being a game to have your cities running properly it does take time to plan and evaluate what you have done. Even with organically grown cities like mine.

This is what Cities Skylines teaches me.