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  • Chief ZDN
    Chief ZDN

    Commute Trips

    This article was copied from SC4ever.com. This article originally created by Keegas Lucas. This is also outdated info, if you have NAM installed, you should visit this link.

    Your commuters only travel at one mile per hour.

    That's right folks. Let me explain my experiment.

    I set up a 2x2 zone of dense industrial with a road leading to a 2x2 zone of residential. I started with 10 spaces between the two zones. What popped up were two low income lots with 8 people total, and then an industry that had 9 jobs. This kept the simulation simple. I would then move the residential zone 10 tiles further after recording average commutes.

    This is what resulted - with 10 tiles between, there was an average commute time of six minutes. Every 10 tiles further added another six minutes (approximately). By the time it was at 100 tiles we were at 62 minutes.

    What does this mean?

    Well, Maxis has finally owned up to a truer sense of scale with SC4 (much appreciated). They tell us that a tile is 16 meters (roughly 53 feet) across, as opposed to telling us SC3k's tiles were about 200 feet across. Unfortunately, unrealistic commute times have persevered. 100 tiles is about a mile, and that means your sims are traveling 1 mile per hour.

    I was excited when I heard that sims might be willing to travel up to 2.5 hours. Well, that's time spent on about two miles, and it honestly messes with the whole regional idea.

    It seems to me that they've never gotten the commute times right. Play SC2K again and you'll see how closely you have to build every zone for anything to survive. SC3K expanded this quite a lot, but is still not realistic. And now this.

    Thank you.


      Edited by Chief ZDN  



    User Feedback


    It should be said that this is extremely outdated information. Experiments with the Traffic Simulator, in particular the Commute time graph, have shown that the original Maxis traffic simulator did not allow for 150 minute (2.5 hours) trips. In fact, the actual max commute time being used by the pathfinder was 6 minutes maximum. Evidently even Maxis thought this was rather low, so the commute time graph was scaled by a factor of 25 to yield more palatable commute times (6 times 25 is 150 minutes, or the 2.5 hour total).

    Furthermore, proper analysis of commute time graph behavior is not available. Following changes to the traffic simulator, it was observed by z1 and others that the graph, even when no artificially scaled, did not properly render commute times at extreme ranges, nor did any sort of alternative scaling factor seem to alleviate the issue. The NAM removes any such scaling factor in the graph's display, but as the graph is unreliable at properly predicting commute times using the NAM traffic simulator, the general recommendation is to observe congestion and abandonment/degradation among general development areas to get a better picture of actual commute times. Since the NAM also raises the max commute time from 6 minutes to 600 minutes, it's unlikely that Sims will be unable to reach their destinations in the given time frame, so the commute time graph itself becomes increasingly unnecessary as a measure of tracking city health.

    The destination finder still seems to prefer this 6-minute limit. In the original game, subways were the only network that could reliably transport a Sim from one large city's corner to the opposite corner within the very restrictive 6 minute time limit, and it was observed that in congested or heavily populated cities that the addition of subway stations and networks, even after the application of NAM pathfinding and other improvements, helped to reduce travel times, improve the quality of the pathfinding, and eliminate any remaining commute-related abandonment.

    This can all be read about in this thread, about the working and development of the NAM traffic simulator.

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