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This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 1.5.

A harbor and cruise ship, one example of transportation in Cities: Skylines.
Transportation is one of the services in Cities: Skylines. There are many modes of transportation which are unlocked through milestones; you can set up a bus network, dig metro tunnels, lay down tracks for passenger and cargo trains, build both passenger and cargo terminals for ships and build an airport. Bus and metro networks are for inner city transport while train network can service both inner-city and intercity needs (both, passenger and cargo trains). The harbors and the airport service intercity connections.

The different modes of transportation are suitable for different purposes, and together make it possible to build a dense network of public transportation across your city. The budget of each mode of transportation can be adjusted separately in the Economy menu.


Bus Depot.png
Buses are the first mode of public transportation available to the player in Cities: Skylines. Before one can set up bus routes a bus depot needs to be constructed. This is quite expensive (₡30,000); however, a single bus depot can spawn an unlimited amount of buses, so a single depot is sufficient for smaller cities.[1] Larger cities may require more depots to avoid temporary localized congestion of empty buses en route to their first stops.[2]
Bus Stop.png
To create bus lines, place bus stops along roads anywhere in the city. Continue to place bus stops for the desired route and then end the line at the first bus stop built. The line will then automatically start once closed. Loop lines and bi-directional lines can be built in this manner. At the ends of bi-directional lines, buses will need to find a loop, roundabout or dead-end road to allow them to reverse their direction.

Bus stops are free to place; however, the maintenance cost of the bus system will be related to the number of buses in operation. The number of buses per line is primarily based on the line's length and can be modified to a limited extent by increasing or decreasing the bus system's budget. In the unmodded game, each bus has a capacity of 30 citizens.

Additionally, while you have the Bus Stop tool selected, you may:

  • Remove a bus stop: right click.
  • Relocate a bus stop: left click, drag, and drop.

To remove an entire bus line, find a bus from the line you want to delete, left click the bus, then click Modify Line, and in the next window click Delete Line, This can be done from either the normal city view, or whilst viewing the Transportation Info View. Citizens can be seen waiting at bus stops. Both unused and overcrowded bus stops are indications of a failure in the public transport system.

Buses can form cheap and effective transportation links, however care must be taken. Buses stopping may block traffic (especially with standard two lane roads), including other buses. While there are exceptions, bus lines should always return along the same path- lines that do not may force people to drive in one direction (as they cannot take a convenient bus route back).

Players' observations[edit]

  • Buses start their journey at the bus Depot, and will head to its assigned route.
  • Buses will spawn at the Depot Closest to the first stop on its route.
  • A number of buses will spawn in relation to the number of stops on the route and the Budget set in the budget panel.
  • When day and night budgets are set equally, e.g. 100% Day, 100% Night, all buses will remain on their route at all times.
  • If the budget is set differently for day and night, e.g. 150% Day, 100% Night, half the buses on the route will physically return to their depot at night fall.
  • In the Morning, all buses will return to their route.
  • If only one bus depot is used, buses returning to shift can get stuck in traffic on the way to their assigned route, should the depot be on the other side of a large city. This may cause long delays and queues at bus stops for passengers.


Metro Station.png
Metro stations are advantageous for heavily populated areas because, unlike roads and train tracks, they can be connected by underground tunnels and therefore take up very little room on the surface. Metro stations are much cheaper to place (₡15000) and maintain (₡240/week) than train stations, although the metro track itself is slightly more expensive. After placing metro stations and connecting them with tunnels, metro lines must be placed between stations by using the Metro Line Tool and clicking the stations in the desired order. Like other forms of public transportation, metro lines must form a closed loop, but metros, like trains and trams, can reverse their direction at a station. It is also possible to create multiple lines between different sets of stations. In the unmodded game, each metro train has a capacity of 180 citizens.

Metro stations can accommodate two trains at the same time if they are traveling in opposite directions. Direction is determined by the station order on a line. Connecting multiple metro loops through a common station with trains traveling in opposite directions can be an effective way to interchange passengers. Conversely, overlapping lines traveling in the same direction can cause metro congestion.

Generally speaking, a metro station will not handle more than 2 lines passing through each platform without becoming congested. If the metro station is a terminus station (that is, the line ends and metro trains reverse out the way they came) then you should avoid having two lines terminating from the same direction, however if they terminate from opposite directions the lines will use both sides, eliminating congestion.

As with buses, metro lines should always come back on themselves, stopping at the same places (but going the other direction) so that people can return the way they came. When developing metro lines, which are generally more expensive (and thus require pretty high capacity) it is important to remember that citizens travel to and from work places (industrial, offices and retail), retail opportunities and recreational places (parks and monuments). As such lines that link together residential areas are generally less utilized.

You can change the color of the Metro lines by opening the transportation overlay Transport.png (not the build menu) and clicking on either the trains or directly on the route.


Train Tracks.png
Both types of train need tracks to run on. Tracks can be placed like roads, however trains cannot turn as easily as cars and the design of train junctions will need a different approach. Level crossings will occur when tracks and roads cross at ground level. Tracks can be elevated. As of Patch 1.1.0, tracks can be placed underground, however they cannot intersect with the metro system.

Passenger trains and cargo trains can share the same tracks and even pass through the others' terminals on their routes.

Similar to roads and metro tunnels, train tracks can have traffic congestion problems if too many trains are using the same rail line at the same time. When your track becomes too congested, cargo and passengers may fail to reach their destinations. You will therefore need to be careful when placing junctions on heavily used tracks, taking into account many of the same traffic considerations as with road intersections. A few steps can be taken to help avoid rail congestion. Separate lines can be made to accommodate freight and passenger trains, bypass lanes can be made around stations, and when building junctions, it is best to make it long enough for a full train (14 cells for passenger trains, 18 cells for cargo trains) to fit on so that if it is stopped, trains behind it going to a different location can pass unimpeded.

Passenger trains[edit]

Train Station.png
Passenger trains will move tourists and citizens in and out of the city. When a passenger terminal is connected to the outside connections, trains will start automatically spawning. Train stations are more expensive to place (₡45,000) and maintain (₡960/week) than metro stations, although the track itself is slightly less expensive than metro track when it is placed at ground level; elevated and underground railway track is considerably more expensive to place.

Passenger trains can also be used to move people around between interconnected train stations within the city. To do that, you need to create train lines similar to bus lines or metro lines. You can edit the train lines by selecting a train belonging to that line and clicking the Modify Line button on the info window. It is useful to give each line a different color. Like buses, passenger trains will be painted the same colors as the lines they service. In the unmodded game, each passenger train has a capacity of 240 citizens.

Cargo trains[edit]

Cargo Train Terminal.png
Cargo trains will move goods more efficiently than cargo trucks. When a cargo terminal is connected to another cargo terminal or to the outside connections, trains will start automatically spawning.

When goods come into the cargo terminal via the tracks, they will be taken out to their final destinations by a small fleet of cargo trucks. When cargo trucks bring goods into the cargo terminal, a cargo train will spawn to take those goods to their destination, be it the outside world or another cargo terminal that is closer to the destination. Cargo terminals are traditionally used to connect industrial zones to import and export materials and goods, and because they offer a service boost to the industrial zone. However, freight stations can be placed outside large commercial zones and be used to import finished goods and bypass other road systems.

Every time a cargo train arrives, a lot of trucks will leave the terminal. When facing in front of cargo train terminal, trucks will always enter the terminal on right side and exit on left side. To control flow, build a one-way road heading to the left. This will minimize the need of vehicles yielding to each other.


Tram depot.png
With Snowfall, trams were introduced to Cities Skylines. They are a railed transport system which can exist within the road network or independent of it. They offer an intermediary option between buses, metro lines, and passenger train lines, and can therefore be used to replace busy bus routes or to offer higher-order transit to areas whose density does not yet merit a metro line or train line. Trams operate much like buses; however, they are slightly more expensive to maintain, with the advantage that they are not hampered by poor road conditions and snow. Tram lines should allow either two contra-rotating loops or a bi-directional line to allow cims to complete their return journey with ease. The tram depot spawns the trams for the network, and independent networks can be created with the use of multiple depots. In the unmodded game, each tram has a capacity of 90 passengers.
Tram stop.png
When designing tram lines, the stops are created using the same method as for buses and additional lines can be recoloured using the transport interface.


When you create a port, ships will automatically path to it. You don't need to create shipping routes yourself. However, the map needs to have some pre-existing ship paths that are reachable from the port.

Ships are unlocked when a city reaches the Capital City size milestone. Ships come in two forms: cruise ships and cargo ships, each of which will only visit their respective harbors. Both types of harbour are primarily for external connections (and can only be placed where such connections are available), however a city's citizens and internal freight traffic will occasionally make use of routes between ports.

Harbors create noise pollution and use a large amount of water and energy.

Cruise ships[edit]

Harbors will allow cruise ships to dock in your city. They will bring tourists to your city. To unlock the harbor, you need to reach the capital city size.

Harbors cost ₡80,000 to build and ₡1,600 per week to maintain.

It is a good idea to place public transportation, such as bus stops, train stations, and metro stations, next to the passenger harbor to provide tourists easy access to public transportation. In the unmodded game, each passenger ship has a capacity of 100 passengers.

Cargo ships[edit]

Cargo Harbor.png
A cargo harbor will allow cargo ships to dock in your city. They will take industry goods in and out of your city. To unlock the cargo harbor, you need to reach the capital city size.

Cargo harbors cost ₡60,000 to build and ₡1,920 per week to maintain. Ensure that the cargo harbor is supported by an efficient road system since materials and goods will be flowing in and out. One tip is to place a freight station near the cargo harbor. Freight, like citizens, will take multiple forms of transportation to get to the final destination.

Cargo hub[edit]

Cargo hub.png
The cargo hub combines the cargo harbour and the cargo station and allows direct transferral between the ship and rail networks. This is especially useful if the shipping lane is a long distance from rail network and you don't want to flood the city with cargo traffic. Cargo hubs are unlocked at Colossal city and cost ₡90,000 to buy and ₡2,400 to maintain.


Many Cims will take advantage of cycle lanes on roads or the chance to cycle on paths. This form of transport is used to cover longer distances than walking. Various policies exist which can impact cycle usage in the city. Cycling is allowed on main roads and some types of road have dedicated cycle lanes to speed commuters to their destination.


When you create an airport, airplanes will automatically path to it, you don't need to create any routes yourself. However, the map needs to have some pre-existing airplane paths that the airport will connect to.

Each plane has a capacity of 200 passengers. Airports will bring tourists and business people to your city. Construction requires the metropolis milestone. Place public transportation lines, such as buses and metro stations, near your airport to help prevent tourists from using cars. The planes landing and taking off from the airport appear to be modelled on the real-life Airbus A380.

There are 2 types of airports. One is the normal airport, which has 3 gates (4 jetways) and a single runway. Its terminal is blue and has a curved shape. The second type is only available in the After Dark expansion and that is the International Airport; it has 2 runways and one big terminal with 8 gates. By default, it has a metro station inside of it.


Taxi depot.png
As of After Dark expansion, taxi system is available in the game.

Taxi service consists of two buildings:

  • A depot from which taxis start their work shift and to which they return at the end of their work shift
  • A taxi stand where they await customer calls

The taxi service allows tourists and citizens to order taxis to take them to their destination. Taxis do not use lines, they receive requests from tourists and citizens and travel automatically to pick the customers up. If a taxi does not have a new customer in line, it will go to the nearest taxi stand to wait for a call if there’s still work shift left.

Taxis are important for the Commercial specialization districts. Tourists visiting tourism districts and citizens in leisure districts will both make use of a good taxi system.[3]


Monorails are a planned public transport type that will be available in the Mass Transit expansion.


Citizens can use multiple modes of transport in order to get to their destination, so a common route can be split across more than one public transit line, either of the same or different types.

As an example, a citizen might walk to a bus stop, take the bus to a train station, take the train to get closer to their job, then take a bus the rest of the way there. A useful side-effect of this is that train stations can be placed in less densely populated areas as long as some other mode of transport can get your citizens there. A well-designed public transport system will make such transitions easy for your citizens. Pedestrian paths may be useful to provide quick routes for the walking segments of your citizens' journeys.

Like citizens, goods can take multiple modes of transport in one journey whilst being transported. They can be transferred between road, ship and trains.


• Despite being the largest vehicle of all (in-game and in real life), ships (100 Passengers) have far less capacity than passenger trains (240 passengers) and even metro trains (180 passengers).

• Planes in-game is modelled after Airbus A380. In-game, it has 200 passengers, the typical capacity of medium-sized planes like Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. However, in real life, Airbus A380 is the largest passenger jet on Earth, with a typical capacity of 525 passengers and maximum of 853 passengers.

• A possible reason why ships and planes have less capacity despite being physically larger is due to the fact the number of citizens and tourists are scaled down compared to real life, there are far less tourists than citizens, and such vehicles are only used for inter-city transport, which is only used when tourists enter and leave the city, when new citizens move in, and when disgruntled citizens leave the city.

• A possible reason why metros and passenger trains have relatively high capacity is because metros primarily serve as inner-city transport, and passengers trains can serve the same purpose, provided they have a train line.

• In order from least to greatest the demand of inner-city transport for passengers are: Office, Industrial, Residential and Commercial.

• Industry demands more mass cargo transit than passenger transit, which is why it is more important to have a cargo train terminal and cargo harbor nearby to industry than to residential or commercial zones.

• Having a large amount of exports is just as bad of having the same amount of imports, since trucks squeeze into whatever roads, terminals and harbors they can reach. Worse, they will return to their facilities empty. This is a problem on outgoing trains affected by train congestion jam bug: a bug that causes trains to line up toward outside connections. This bug is easily observed prior to the first update and on maps with only one or two outside connections. This is likely caused by outgoing trains outside city borders not despawning properly. The night/day cycle update will fix this.

• Harbors will always have pre-built two-lane roads on their entrance and cannot be modified. This is a problem on cargo harbors since trucks enter and leave in the same manner as in cargo train stations. To solve this, have an outgoing one-way road on the left side and incoming one way road on the right. It is therefore advisable not to place intersections on the harbor's road.

• Buses can operate point-to-point (a long bus line with only two stops, each located on either end of the line) to shuttle passengers in long distances faster (assuming roads are well designed). Preferably, the bus line should use highways to make the long-distance journey quick. An example would be the line stretches across the entire map and/or the stops are adjacent to the terminus metro/train stations or tram stops (where the ends of metro/train/tram lines end). This way, instead of riding metro/train/tram vehicles throughout the metro/train/tram line (and stopping along the way), passengers can travel long distances non-stop, reducing travel times. Also, this frees up more space for metro/train/tram passengers who will alight halfway down the metro/train/tram line.

• Space Elevator is the monument that handles the bulk of inter-city transport. If city is attractive enough, the Space Elevator will be fully utilized by tourists and immigrants (or emigrants, if the city becomes hostile), sometimes even more so, than airports, harbors, and train stations.

• Custom train/bus/tram/metro/plane/ship vehicles that are created with the Asset Editor or downloaded from the Steam Workshop can have more or less capacity than the regular train/bus/tram/metro/plane/ship vehicles founded in the unmodded game, depending on the vehicle. Some Steam Workshop modifications also exist that change the capacity of public transport vehicles.

• Custom train and metro stations, as well as custom harbors and airports, can also be created with the Asset Editor or downloaded from the Steam Workshop. Most of the customized train stations, metro stations, harbors, and airports don't require any mods, although all of them require the default metro/train stations, harbors, or airports. Some of the custom train and metro stations require Steam Workshop modifications in order to work correctly, including train/metro stations where 2 or more lines intersect each other, elevated/ground level metro stations and metro depots (as elevated/ground level metro track and metro depots cannot be built without the use of modifications), and elevated or underground train stations (as train tracks placed underground cannot intersect with the metro system).

External links[edit]


  3. Co_Karoliina Cities: Skylines - After Dark - Dev Diary 4: Commercial specializations