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Need some help with with strange El-Rail behavior

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I've been playing SC4 long enough to have seen quite a few strange commuter behaviors, but this one has me scratching my head. I have two cities sitting next to each other in a region. One is an entirely residential city of low/medium wealth high-rises (about 65k residents). The other is a costal city with large areas of industry as well as some smaller redidential and commercial areas. In order to reduce the traffic congestion caused by people commuting between the two cities, I added an elevated rail network with lines that run from the border of my cities to the industrial and commercial areas. I then created an El Rail connection to my residential city and made sure to put some stations in both cities.

I ran both cities for a few months and the results were bizzare. Rather than using the stations right next to thier buildings in the residential city, the sims would get in thier cars (or use the bus if a station was nearby), drive across the border, and then hop on the nearest train station in my industrial city and ride that to their final destination. Even with massive congestion on the road links between the cities, they still prefer driving to a station in industrial city rather than using the station right next to their house.

As a final measure, I thought I would be clever and demolish all the road connections, leaving mass transit as the only means to move between the cities. As soon as I did that, every single building in the residential city started showing a no-job zot. Apparently they would rather be jobless than ride the train :P

I'm out of ideas. Can someone explain to me what is going on here and what I can do to fix it?

P.S. I am currently using the NAM ( not sure which version but fairly recent) with the default settings if that makes a difference.

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  • Original Poster
  • I suppose I could try subway, if my city can afford it. I was trying to stick with El-Rail since it fits better with the 'working class' feel of my city. Is the el-rail neighbor connection a known bug. or am I just doing something wrong?

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    Check the connection. If you have the NAM, no job zots will not appear unless the size of the workforce exceeds the jobs available. If not, try heavy rail connections. Heavy passenger rail and monorail are better for intercity transit than El-train.

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  • Original Poster
  • Not sure what you mean when you say that heavy rail and monorail are better for intercity transit than el rail. As far as I'm aware, heavy rail and light rail have the same speed and capacity. The only advantage to building heavy rail is that it's cheaper to build and maintain.

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    Not sure what you mean when you say that heavy rail and monorail are better for intercity transit than el rail. As far as I'm aware, heavy rail and light rail have the same speed and capacity. The only advantage to building heavy rail is that it's cheaper to build and maintain.

    I don't remember how it was in the original game, but in NAM, the light rail network (El rail, GLR, and subway) is the slowest form of rail transport available. What it's good for is the fact that it is super-flexible, has a relatively small footprint, and generally isn't very expensive unless you are building underground. Monorail is actually the best one for long distances because it is fast and is the only form of mass transit that wealthy sims like.

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    I had written down the speeds for EVERYthing on a card, but I've now lost that card, so I had to find them back on an old post:

    Street 30, RD/AVE 50, OWR 75, MHW/RHW 150, Rail 140, Subway 105, El Rail 115, Monorail 225.

    Here's my stance on each network:

    Rail - You can move not only passengers, but also freight. Its speeds are outmatched by RHW, making Rail the second-best option for inter-regional transit for both commuters and freight in terms of speed, but the cheapest of all the rail networks. It's more for inter-regional transportation, in theory.

    Subway - Did you know that the NAM boosts the construction and maintenance cost for Subways? As much as it goes against the default game's recommendations, this is actually typical of real-life. If you're going for Subways, be ready to tear holes in your wallet. This is for inter-city transit, or less commonly, to disguise the absence of roads in a roadless city.

    ELR - The speed of ELR was boosted to make ELR/GLR more used than it would have been otherwise. The reason for the change (and you may need to update your traffic simulator) is the same for with RHW and Rail: So that one has more "priority" than the other. Typically for inter-city transit. With this regard, it's better to use El Rail (or GLR).

    Monorail - I don't think that wealth level is relevant (and unless you know your way around the traffic simulator, don't try to correct me), and unless you've modified the cost of Monorail, you'll need a lot of wealth to even build a Monorail system. If you're going for a Monorail system, I wouldn't use it like a Subway or El Rail system; It's more for inter-regional transportation, at least in theory.


      Edited by Ganaram Inukshuk  

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  • Original Poster
  • That speed vs cost data pretty much confirms what I was thinking. Subway and monorail are way too expensive for my city at this point. The distances involved aren't that large, so the smaller footprint of the El Rail is more important than the higher speeds from the heavy rail. Now if only I could figure out why the neighbor connection isn't being recognised...

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    Try putting it down from both directions. If there is a pathing problem that should solve it. Have you tried the 'drawpaths' command from the extra cheats .dll? (hidepaths turns if off).

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    I had written down the speeds for EVERYthing on a card, but I've now lost that card, so I had to find them back on an old post:

    Street 30, RD/AVE 50, OWR 75, MHW/RHW 150, Rail 140, Subway 105, El Rail 115, Monorail 225.

    Here's my stance on each network:

    Rail - You can move not only passengers, but also freight. Its speeds are outmatched by RHW, making Rail the second-best option for inter-regional transit for both commuters and freight in terms of speed, but the cheapest of all the rail networks. It's more for inter-regional transportation, in theory.

    Subway - Did you know that the NAM boosts the construction and maintenance cost for Subways? As much as it goes against the default game's recommendations, this is actually typical of real-life. If you're going for Subways, be ready to tear holes in your wallet. This is for inter-city transit, or less commonly, to disguise the absence of roads in a roadless city.

    ELR - The speed of ELR was boosted to make ELR/GLR more used than it would have been otherwise. The reason for the change (and you may need to update your traffic simulator) is the same for with RHW and Rail: So that one has more "priority" than the other. Typically for inter-city transit. With this regard, it's better to use El Rail (or GLR).

    Monorail - I don't think that wealth level is relevant (and unless you know your way around the traffic simulator, don't try to correct me), and unless you've modified the cost of Monorail, you'll need a lot of wealth to even build a Monorail system. If you're going for a Monorail system, I wouldn't use it like a Subway or El Rail system; It's more for inter-regional transportation, at least in theory.

    Well the manual claims that R$$$ prefer monorail over all other forms of mass transit. Then again it could just be Maxis talking up features that don't really exist.

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  • Original Poster
  • I did some further experimenting. If I use subway as a 'tunnel' to connect the El networks in my two cities together the sims continue to ignore it just like before. However, if I add an actual subway station to the network they will happily use that to move from one city to the other.

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    I usually use roads/avenues, heavy railways and motorways for intercity connections, and rapid transit (el-train, tube, monorail) for trips within town. Also, if you use large city tiles (4x4 small city tiles), try put houses and workplaces in the same city.

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  • Original Poster
  • I appreciate the suggestion humvee but that doesn't really help. I know you can use other forms of transit. What I'm trying to figure out is whether or not there is an actual bug that is preventing the Elrail from crossing city borders.

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  • Original Poster
  • After a lot of trial and error I was finally able to get the connection working. What I ended up doing was creating a connection from my residential city to yet another city. For whatever reason, establishing a valid connection there also allowed my other connections to work.

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  • Original Poster
  • If it is I have no idea how to reproduce it. The only possible culprit I can think of is a road that was running parallel to the border between the cities. There was only two grids between the map edge and the point where the el-rail would cross the road. Perhaps that's not enough space to form a proper connection?

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    Interesting. I have occasionally had problems upgrading a connection, mostly from road to avenue. Even though there may be space on both sides, it sometimes has to be made from each side. In one situation, I wound up by obliterating the smaller city (it was a dependent) to clear whatever was causing the problem.

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    To clarify a few things...

    I had written down the speeds for EVERYthing on a card, but I've now lost that card, so I had to find them back on an old post:

    Street 30, RD/AVE 50, OWR 75, MHW/RHW 150, Rail 140, Subway 105, El Rail 115, Monorail 225.

    Note that the higher El Rail speed is present only in the traffic simulator that comes with the . This traffic simulator will be included in the release of the next NAM.

    Rail - You can move not only passengers, but also freight. Its speeds are outmatched by RHW...

    Only by 7% though, which means that accessibility can often override the speed difference.

    Subway - Did you know that the NAM boosts the construction and maintenance cost for Subways?

    Only the maintenance cost, and in the most recent version of the traffic simulator, this has been reduced somewhat.

    It's more for inter-regional transportation, in theory.

    Maxis (and the Prima Guide) talk a lot about inter-regional transportation, but the truth is that no such factor is built into the game. The inter-regional effect is simply an extension of the fact that Sims tend to use faster networks when they're traveling longer distances, as network speed then trumps accessibility. But even on a network designed for long-distance transit, it's important to have plenty of stations - much more than in RL - otherwise, Sims just won't use the network.

    Monorail - I don't think that wealth level is relevant...

    It's not. Not here, not in any form of mass transit. This is a misconception that unfortunately is repeated frequently. Rich Sims tend to prefer cars over mass transit, and vice versa for poor Sims, but that's all you can say.

    If you're going for a Monorail system, I wouldn't use it like a Subway or El Rail system; It's more for inter-regional transportation, at least in theory.

    In RL, monorails are used for short-distance travel, and in SC4 it's no different (although their speeds are wildly higher). If you can afford it, using monorail instead of el rail will be greatly appreciated by your Sims, as long as you have enough stations, and as long as you're using the NAM traffic simulator.

    Well the manual claims that R$$$ prefer monorail over all other forms of mass transit. Then again it could just be Maxis talking up features that don't really exist.

    Well, in a sense they do, but so do R$$ and R$ Sims. What it comes down to is that (at least with the NAM traffic simulator) all Sims prefer the fastest route to work, adjusted slightly for their wealth-level preference for cars or mass transit.

    What I'm trying to figure out is whether or not there is an actual bug that is preventing the Elrail from crossing city borders.

    No; I have done this successfully in many places.

    I have never had a problem with this. EL connections are often one of the causes of the indefatigable commuter loop.

    Ah yes...

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