I have a few freight train stations in my city's industrial centers. They link to each other, and to other regions. However, despite being much closer, the stations are always ignored in favor of road links. Only industries right next to the tracks actually use them.

The same thing happens with passenger stations. Instead of using trains to get around, people always just drive or take the bus, no matter how congested the roads are.

Stations are always accompanied by bus stops and parking garages. I also have the Commuter Shuttle Service city ordinance.

I have tried removing the road links, but rail use is still lower than expected - only 4% capacity for my most popular station.

Obviously, I'm doing something wrong. How do I build an efficient, effective and worthwhile rail network?

2 Answers 2


All mass transit options must be "on the way" to a sims job/home and there must be a similar end point for that mass transit option within 6 tiles of the destination. Apparently it is possible to have sims transfer from one form of mass transit to another, but they will always transfer on foot so make sure the end points (subway station, bus station etc) are as close together as possible, across the street from each other preferably.

I lifted this from the GameFAQs SimCity 4: Transportation FAQ. Other tips lie within, including pointers for building an effective freight transport network.


Appart from R$$$ sims never take public transport other sims choose for mass transit if it offers the shortest option to the destination. Same goes for sims taking a car, they often zigzag small roads to there destination instead of using the highway. If you have many straight roads and avenues leading out of the city then those road road are often more favorable then using public transport.

This all is because the pathfinding is iffy. They should have made different movement costs on specific tiles, or better, speed limits. If a highway has a movement cost of 50 and a simple road 100 then it's often very efficient to take the highway especially for long distances. However when testing this it appears that all infrastructure tiles get the same movement value and thus get treated the same by the sims in your city.

In my gameplay and let's play series on YouTube i introduced neighborhoods. Up till now most people where building inside large grids. Which is very inefficient, firstly because there are many traffic lights and secondly because rarely people make use of the public transport or your highway. What i often do i make neighborhoods with 2 to 4 exits and make sure those exits are not connected in a straight line. Then connect this neighborhood to an avenue or highway. Now if the sim wants to leave it's neighborhood for some shopping downtown it needs to path out to the avenue or highway connecting these neighborhoods and it will not enter another neighborhood since the exits are not a straight line and thus takes more moves to cross that.

There is also a much bigger chance for those sims to take a public transport option. I had many stations over 1000% capacity using these (far more realistic) layouts. Obviously you do not want 1000% capacity but here is where you need to expand the public transport system.

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