I have some main roads in my city which appear glowing red in the traffic view. When zooming into them I also see large numbers of cars and trucks lining up. However, so far I did not notice any direct consequences of this. The citizens in the traffic jams are happy and the buildings they come from or go to appear to work perfectly.

Should I not remedy the bad traffic situation, what problems will I encounter?


As Dennis noted, service is a huge part of this - all the services in the game only work if transportation is available (of course, power uses power lines, water uses water pipes, so they aren't affected by road traffic).

This gets worse as the city grows bigger - it's very easy to have all your service trucks stuck in one traffic jam. Note that the service buildings don't have a finite range, the way it's indicated in the UI - that's just the range where they're effective. They will happily travel through the whole city, through three different traffic jams to get to a point where they are needed, and then back again. There is a limit to how long they can spend on a trip, but it's pretty long. Something that looks like a fun traffic jam in a 20k city will completely paralyze a 60k city. Seriously, I've had a city drop from 80k to 50k over a few weeks, just because of traffic jams!

Industry can only work if it has the resources. If you're seeing many abandoned buildings, this is one likely cause. This is much more important when you have e.g. wood industry without a forest - all the wood has to be imported. Industry creates huge traffic in the mid-late game.

And I've observed increased taxes after fixing traffic issues. I'm not sure about the cause, it might be that commercial zones produce more money when they get people-traffic. Or it might be the better service access, who knows.

And of course, traffic jams add a lot to noise. This can be countered (trees), but it's a factor.

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There could be issues such as garbage trucks not being very efficient. Likewise any service that uses the roads will have difficulties. Fire trucks, police cars etc.

With that information in mind I am sure you can make the decision whether it is worth it to you, to remedy the situation or not.

Edit: Additionally it creates some noise pollution, which will reduce nearby land values and the happiness of people.

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Traffic jams are important to take care of for several reasons.

  • It creates noise pollution which makes people unhappy around the area.
  • Services such as police, transportation, fire trucks etc. Can completely halt, for instance in the case of crematoriums dead bodies will pile up and can quickly create a plague that will kill your population (yikes)
  • Industry needs well planned out road access for import and export. If businesses are not able to maintain profits they will move out. As your industry develops, it will require more traffic to operate.
  • It affects overall happiness for the part of the population that travels the stretch.

All in all, neglecting it is a bad move, and is a big part of what Cities: Skylines is about. If you don't like it, you can use mods to remove the requirement :)

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In addition to the other answers, I have experienced death as a consequence of this. Massive, city-wide, death. Since the trucks from the crematoriums and cemeteries couldn't get to the houses, especially when they became high density, more and more people died and more and more buildings were abandoned because of decreased land value.

The same can occur with other elements of your city, such as fire, police, etc. Neglecting this is truly a bad move.

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