Playing civilization 5 the game explicitly says roads cost gold to maintain. This is of course a major variable in the answer to "should I connect these cities by road or not" question.

However, looking at the income report I do not see a "road maintenance" entry, and comparing with the number of roads I have it really feels that they do not cost 1 gold per tile, which is what I assumed from the game description. Further, I'm pretty sure building a single road tile does not affect my income.

So, do roads really cost gold to maintain, and if they do - how does it work? Is it really 1 gold per road tile, regardless of where that tile is?


2 Answers 2


To directly answer the question, road maintenance is listed as "Tile Improvement Maintenance", when you mouse over your treasury/income in the top left. You can see a circled example in the screenshot below. As for the details:

Roads cost to maintain both inside and outside your borders

Because my conclusions are contrary to previous info we had about road maintenance in neutral territory... Pics Or It Didn't Happen!

Exibit 1: Prince Difficulty, some roads in, some out. Neutral Road costs maintenance

As you can see, I have 4 roads in my territory, and one outside, costing me a total of 5 maintenance. I have no other roads anywhere else. I wish I had taken a screenshot of the previous turn. The next time I find myself in this situation, I'll take a pair of screenshots and replace this single picture. Either way, remember you can always try it yourself to be sure. YaY Science!

Exibit 2: Settler Difficulty, all roads out. alt text

Thanks to @DMA57361's questions, I checked a different difficulty and a different number of roads outside the borders, namely all of them. On Settler difficulty, building roads only outside of my borders, I still ended up with maintenance for the roads, so clearly they do cost.

Edited to account for difficulty, now that I've completed more extensive testing.

Roads cost the same to maintain in your own territory, and in neutral territory. How much varies by difficulty:

Road Maintenance /Road/Turn
Difficulty | Your Land | Neutral
Settler    |    0.34g  |  0.34g
Chieftain  |    0.50g  |  0.50g
Warlord    |    0.75g  |  0.75g
Prince     |    1.00g  |  1.00g
5-7*       |    1.00g  |  1.00g
Deity      |    1.00g  |  1.00g

Road maintenance is only ever a whole number. In case of decimal remainder, always round down. For example, on Settler, 2 roads cost 0.68, which clearly got rounded down to 0.

To find each of these, I built roads either only inside, or only outside my borders at a time. This confirmed the same results for inside and out, but got me only close numbers. Then @Oak used his powers of XML scrying, and found the exact numbers for us.

Since so many difficulties are 1g, (and the ones that are not are the easier difficulties anyway,) and for our general happiness, I hereby declare "1g" an acceptable approximation for all further calculations relating to road maintenance. Hurray!

When next I can test, I'll re-test road's in another nation's borders, to clean up the next section! Same Bat-time. Same Bat-channel.

Roads DO NOT cost to maintain inside another nation's borders

Edit: This section is suspect until I complete further testing, since one road did not cause me maintenance. My mistake for not setting up a proper control. This still may be completely true, but I need to test on different difficulties and compare with similar numbers of roads in my borders and in neutral territory.

alt textalt text

In the game these two pictures originated from, I had no roads, and built a road inside each another civilization's borders, and a city-state's borders. I can't verify that they were costing any gold to the land's owner (Rome's income was fluctuating quite a bit), but I can say for sure they were costing me nothing. This is likely what bwarner saw that caused the error.

There may be other effects that change which roads cost to maintain, but these seem to be the major ones. Anyone found anything not explained by these.

PS As with any screenshot heavy post, I do my best to crop/scale the images to reasonable sizes without losing the important parts, such as the circled text. They still end up crowding the page, for which I'm sorry.

  • 1
    @Willful - what difficult are you on, and do higher difficulties have higher tile maintenance? Just wondering if you're really paying 1.25G per tile (because of some other factor) and the neutral tile really is free. I guess the quickest way to check is to see if removing the road in that neutral tile reduces your tile costs?
    – DMA57361
    Oct 14, 2010 at 7:56
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    @DMA57361 What a can of worms you opened. Thanks for asking good questions. I don't have that exact game available to me... its multiplayer. But I did another test that proves neutral costs maintenance, and proves we have no idea how much roads cost to maintain between either difficulties or in borders/out of borders. See my edits for details. Oct 14, 2010 at 15:45
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    @Willful Nicely done, at least we know roads cost outside borders (which is a worry!), guess the others can join the "smoke and mirrors" pile with unit maintenance costs...
    – DMA57361
    Oct 14, 2010 at 17:35
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    @Will - just to add weight to your argument, I've just quickly tested this as well. On Prince difficulty (which I think is the "normal" one) I was paying the normal 1 gold for every tile of road I built in neutral land.
    – DMA57361
    Oct 14, 2010 at 19:36
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    If you conquer another city, you pay maintenance on any roads they built that fall within your (new) borders. I confirmed this by removing several roads I didn't need. Oct 17, 2010 at 14:50

Sorry to jump on an old thread, and I'm sure you know this, but I felt it worth noting that because you only pay for roads outside your borders if they're connected to your cities, when removing roads you don't want (for example when you've conquered a city) you can just cut the chain nearest to your city and it'll remove the costs of all the subsequent roads. If you set a worker to do this, you'll notice that Civ 5 won't let you remove any of the others because you're already in the process of disconnecting them. It seems to only allow roads that are costing you money to be removed (so you can't go around chopping other civilization's roads apart outside their culture).

Thanks for the info!

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    Exhibit #2 from my post directly contradicts you. Being connected to a city or not seems to make no difference. Nov 27, 2010 at 19:46
  • @Wil - isn't the tile in #2 at the bottom where the 2nd worker is standing on a city tile? Plus: I was in the situation that I couldn't remove some roads that seemed to be mine (conquered or whatever, I do not exactly remember). So there seem to be some further subtleties to this.
    – Martin
    Nov 28, 2010 at 20:50
  • @Martin No, that square is not a city, but a cottage that does not have a road in it. (Cities can't be directly next to unowned land. They take over every square immediately around them when placed) However, your other points are worth investigating. I'd love to see an example where you can't remove a road that you appear to own. Nov 29, 2010 at 7:39

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