Stoplights; the nightmare of all drivers. Especially when you have to wait while the road is practically empty. Sadly, all road and avenue intersections in SimCity 4 have these ‘congest-o-matics’, creating traffic jams on almost every main route in your city. Take this one for example:
The main road is situated in the middle, while the other branching roads have been built because they have a higher capacity than streets; thus avoiding congestion on them. The problem is that the stoplights at the intersections actually create congestion. You can see the cars already forming up a small traffic jam. You can only imagine how bad it would be if these homes were high density skyscrapers!
In real life, there wouldn’t be any stoplights on the main road. This particular problem would be solved by placing yield signs on the branching roads, so people driving on them would have to give way to the cars driving on the main road. That way the traffic on the main road can continue to flow, while people on the branch roads have to wait until the road is clear and they can drive onto the main road.
Sadly, such constructions haven’t been implemented in SimCity 4, putting stoplights at every road intersection, not making any difference between main and minor roads. However, I discovered a workaround, and it has something to do with streets:
Here you can see the upated situation. The spot where the main road intersects with the branching roads has been replaced with a street, eliminating the stoplights and introducing a main road where drivers on the other roads have to give way to the main road traffic. This way, the traffic flow on the main road will not be disrupted by stop lights, saving them quite some congestion.
Some of you may be wondering if the small street part doesn’t get congested. After all; streets have a lower capacity than roads… Well, I’ve got good news for you; these street end-pieces are actually treated as roads by the game. That means they have the same capacity as roads, not unnecessarily creating congestion.
Another solution to a stoplightness intersection is the roundabout. Widely used in Europe, these constructions have proved to be a great succes in replacing traditional intersections. Roundabouts hardly disrupt traffic flow, even on busy roads. Another benefit of using roundabouts is that drivers can turn into any direction on them; including a 360-degree turn. Their biggest drawback is their size; the one in the screenshots uses 9 times the size of a traditional intersection (counting the middle tile).
‘Terminating highways’, as it’s called on the forums, was impossible before Rush Hour. But, with so many new options in RH, Maxis has heard the fan’s complaints and finally introduced this feature into SimCity 4. To do this, just run an avenue into the end of the highway, and they’ll automatically connect.
Undoubtedly, ground-level highways and avenues are among the best additions found in Rush Hour. Especially their interconnectivity makes them useable in plenty of situations. You can also use them to pull off some special tricks:
In dense cities, you don’t always have enough room to place a cloverleaf. Using the highway-to-avenue transitions, you can intersect two ground-level highways using a minimum of space. Of course, increased congestion is the biggest disadvantage in using this system, but if you’re really short of space, this idea is definately worth sacrificing some commute time.
Like you could expect; the same system can be used to intersect a ground-level highway and an avenue without having to build an overpass or onramps. Again, congestion increases, but it is a nice and cheap alternative for the usual onramp+overpass combination.
Like we all discovered, railways can’t go over ground-level highways. Again, we can make use of the interconnectivity to solve this problem. To tackle problems like this, transfer your ground-level highway to an elevated one for a short stretch, then making it go down to the ground again, making a bridge for the railway to go under.
This idea has been invented by our forum member iamrobk, and is the perfect way to connect parallel highways.
Many Rush Hour users don’t know it yet, but you can transfer highways to avenues diagonally. This handy feature makes it possible to ‘break the grid’ and make a more curvy road and highway layout.
Look at the screenshots below, in which I combined some of the ideas presented in this article. As you can see, there are almost endless posibilities; the only limit is your imagination:
Written by oppie - October 10, 2003 | Share this article