If I build an education specialist city and remove all other education buildings, am I right in thinking that all of my students in the nearby cities will commute there for study, grow up to become educated workers, and over time increase the tech level in the surrounding cities?

Or do you need a college/university within an industrial city in order to increase its tech level?

Also, what's the maximum distance that Sims will commute for study? Is it just within each 4 city area of a region surrounding a great work, or even less?

  • What I mean by education is college/university level, not high school or grade school, since I believe they don't increase tech level. Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 4:27
  • Speaking of great works -- any ideas if you build a Space Center Great Work (which provides Tourists/Education) if this would boost the tech level of connected cities?
    – user43524
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 15:42
  • To answer my own comment (simcity2013wiki.com/wiki/Great_Works). Space Center has 2 functions. It is both a tourist attraction and a place of higher education. The structure will increase not only the number of tourists but also the tech level of industrial zones in nearby cities. Level 3 tech industrial buildings will appear in connected cities even without universities.
    – user43524
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 19:45

3 Answers 3


Tech points are generated at a community college or university as sims enter the doors of the education building. If you turn on the tech dataview, you'll see tech points reaching out from the school to your industry as purple lines, as well as each industry building's accumulated tech points. The purple lines deliver tech points to industry buildings. When enough points are accumulated in a building, that building moves up a tech level.

The purple tech delivery lines do not cross city borders. The tech level in each city is constrained by the local education system.

If you only have a community college, your city will be limitted to tech level 2. If you have a university, your city can get tech level 3. It is unclear whether a mixture of tech points from these two buildings are additive (do they stack?). The common recommendation is to not build a community college (it detracts students from the university, slowing its growth and research).

Also, what's the maximum distance that Sims will commute for study?

Students will commute from cities that are connected by road. How to determine how much commuting you'll see is currently unknown. Also - just because students are commuting into your city, doesn't mean they are (actually) commuting out of their source city.

Commuting students generate local tech points.

  • Is there a maximum distance (within a city) that the purple tech agents will travel? Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 13:44
  • 1
    The agents will travel until they run out of points, much like an industrial freight truck will stop in multiple commercial buildings until it runs out (but of course, the purple tech agents ignore traffic). The agents will travel through the road graph toward the gravity well of their targets, just like any other destination seeking agent.
    – Amy B
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 13:54
  • The purple lines were removed from the official game with no reason given. They can be added back in by using this mod from one of the game's developers. community.simtropolis.com/files/file/…
    – Amy B
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 23:33

What you are saying sounds good in theory, but I have found in practice that it doesn't work that way. I have never been able to achieve much in the way of regional students attending my universities despite a plethora of mass transit options.

Also, even for the students that do commute for their education, they will not bring back the tech level boosts with them. They will simply become educated and contribute toward your city education level. In order to achieve manufacturing level industry, you will need your own community college at a minimum. Additionally, to achieve high tech industry you will need your own university. Once you have a university, you can destroy your community college.

You can get the answer to most of your education related questions here:

Once you build a University, can the high school and community college be safely closed?

Kalina posted an excellent analysis of the whole system.

The other thing to consider, is that Sims don't grow up in this version of the game. Residential structures generate 3 types of "agents"... workers, shoppers, and kids. Kids become students when given an accessible source of education. When school lets out for the day, they bring back their knowledge to the building that generated them, which then increases the education level of the building. If the students continue to receive proper education, any workers generated by that structure will be educated as well.


It only affects the tech level of the city. You can test it by building a University at a city with a lot of unfilled jobs. Then build a residential only city with a road connection to that city.

The education level at the residential only city will not increase.

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