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I know that placing utilities (water, power plants etc) further away from the general city is not only a valid tactic - it's generally encouraged, because who wants to live next to a coal power plant? - or get their drinking water from the creek running right next to heavy industry?

Obviously utilities buildings connect to the greater city via power lines/water pipes, so they don't increase traffic - in fact they're quite happy to chug along by themselves, with no transport interaction whatsoever.

But what about civic buildings, like schools, libraries and hospitals? I don't assume it's any more beneficial having them further away (I think they generate a positive aura).

But does having them on the other side of the map increase traffic?

Will the Sims 'simulate' the long commute to get to school or visit grandma in hospital? or do they not care WHERE they're placed (so long as they're placed)?

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If I recall, these buildings have a radius, and to have any kind of effect they have to be built close to residential areas. I don't think that traffic routes to these buildings, although they do for some (ie, the stadium). –  agent86 Dec 6 '12 at 23:49
    
@agent86 - Yes, I think the radius has (at the very least) an effect on aura as I mentioned. However, for example take schools- I don't think the schools go without students the further you place them away - which means the students have to be coming from somwehere - their number is most likely a thin-air calculation based on total population. But my question is whether or not the distance between Residential addresses and the school have an effect on the traffic simulation logic. –  Robotnik Dec 7 '12 at 0:37
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