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All my medium/high residential lots are being "abandoned due to commute time" despite my best efforts. Any advice?

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I have a city that has about 150K people in it, and is starting to be zoned for medium and high density buildings. My city is in a mostly grid-like pattern with zones well-mixed so nothing's too far away. I have a bus station every other block or so on main streets (5x8 squares large, lined with commercial and industrial), with about 3 blocks of residential in between each main street - no Sim in my city should be more than two blocks away from a bus stop. I also have a subway and El system throughout my city, in addition to a beltway and other highways for busier areas. Despite all my efforts to mix up these zones and make my city easy to live in and commute around, my medium and high density residential buildings are being abandoned en masse due to "long commute". It has nothing to do with desirability, which is all they way up on the RCI chart. In fact, my city is still building apartment buildings, which are often abandoned as soon as construction is finished.

As you can imagine, this is incredibly frustrating, as no city looks good with tower after tower of abandoned residential all over the place. I searched the forums before posting this for answers, but most of the solutions given were things that, to my knowledge, I am actively doing. For example, take a look at the screenshots below of two different parts of my city:






As you can see, there are lots of abandoned apartments popping up. In some cases, the apartments being abandoned are right beside a bus stop, El station, or right off a main street.

Now, here are pictures of the RCI of these areas (sorry for low-quality pics):





I feel like these zones should be sufficiently mixed up; yet apartment buildings keep being abandoned. Any tips on what I can do to stop this from happening, and to get people to move back into these apartments? It's really sucking a lot of joy out of the game for me. Thanks for your help, and let me know if you have any questions!

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My best guess is that prior to the larger buildings growing the number of jobs available are basically all filled by the existing residential. This means happy Sims workwise and they tell all their friends what a great city this is to live in. So, said friends all get together and build a nice higher density building and move in. Once there most of them find the nearby jobs already taken so they have to go further away to find employment. Perhaps even to an adjacent city tile. This then produces the long commute and after a while they just say: Phooey. I'm leaving. The building then abandons and equilibrium is re-established for a little while. Then the cycle repeats with another higher density building growing cause of the overall demand. And they find out there's not enough jobs close by. And so on.

This can be especially troublesome with high wealth buildings. A larger high wealth grows, but there's not enough jobs to sustain that many R$$$ Sims in that location. They move out and medium or low wealth take over the building. As you know, when a lower class inhabits a residential building they will pack in more than it was originally designed for. This in turn can mean way too many Sims without sufficient nearby available jobs. This latter part can be mitigated using @Bones1's Less Abandonment Mod. What it does is keep R$$$ from growing until it's way more likely that it will stick around. On the other hand, if you really need housing for bunches of R$$ or R$$$ then those dilapidated R$$$ buildings are great because they hold oodles of them.

Another option is to use Cori's_No_Kickout_Lower_Wealth.dat which prevents any higher class from replacing lower class buildings. You can find some info on this starting in this post and the next few in that thread. The downside (if you can call it that) is this puts control in your hands meaning if you do want a particular lower class building to be replaced with a higher wealth you have to bulldoze it yourself.

Both mods can be used together which really helps to build a balanced city. They work best if installed from the start of growth in the tile, but can be added or removed at any time. Should you want to try them in your current city I'd recommend backing up your region first then adding them to your plugins and then bulldozing all of the blackened buildings and go from there to see how you like them.

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Posted (edited)
  1. Install NAM.
  2. Check the census for jobs and what kind.
  3. Use the drawpaths "cheat" to see if your system has hidden brokenness. Beware of one-way roads/ramps preventing two-way commute.
  4. View traffic congestion and volume.
  5. Check what routes commuters are using (query some job sites and some residences).
  6. Create a MySim in a problem residence, then watch comments.
  7. Check actual usage numbers for your transit, then check funding levels.

  Edited by jeffryfisher  


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  • Original Poster
  • @CorinaMarie and @jeffryfisher - Thanks for the tips! I'm pretty busy this weekend, but I'll try some of these fixes out later and report back. The Less Abandonment mod sounds really useful - I hate seeing so many of the luxury high rises in my city being abandoned.

    I'm pretty sure I have NAM installed already - I use it mostly for cosmetic purposes (e.g. making my roads have a turning lane, etc.), but I didn't know that it controlled traffic too. Does this happen automatically with the mod, or do you have to enable it somehow?

    Transit seems to be fairly utilized, with an average of 20-30% usage of bus stops and maybe 3% usage of el/subway stations. I've also been working on updating my streets to roads/avenues, as maybe the heavily-used side streets that haven't been upgraded yet are having an impact on some apartment buildings. I've also been zoning as much industrial and commercial as possible to ensure that there are enough jobs for everyone. I will report back later.

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    16 minutes ago, KrispyKayak said:

    I didn't know that it controlled traffic too. Does this happen automatically with the mod, or do you have to enable it somehow?

    The original development was way before my time here, but I believe it was the traffic simulator tweaks that then led to all the things in NAM. Since at least version 34 (the current one when I joined ST) the Traffic Simulator (which handles all the path finding) has been a part of it and is always installed. In fact it's the minimum choice. See this post for what files you'd have if that was all you selected. Those files listed later in that post will be nestled among others since you have more than the minimum options installed. Note that some file names will be slightly different depending on whether or not you also installed the TSCT and made any tweaks there.

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    Just to add from what little I know about the NAM...

    A few versions ago the NAM's installer was overhauled to have logic built in, smart enough to detect available components currently installed. This means the executable file can be re-run at a later time in order to add or remove aspects of the mod. Numerous traffic configurations, network types, transit stations and other items can be tailored to one's personal preference. Upon choosing "Custom Installation" from the initial setup page, the installer scans the Plugins folder to determine which are already installed.

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