Cities Skylines Roads, Intersections and Traffic Management Guide

Let's talk about Cities Skylines Roads, Intersections and Traffic Management.

Roads are the most basic tools for building your city in City Skylines, and also the most important.

Initially, building roads can seem like a daunting task, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to optimize them to get the best traffic flow in your city.

Roads also are the primary method through which zones are created for different kinds of buildings.

Cities Skylines Roads, Intersections and Traffic Management

Without a proper road design, your city will become an absolute mess. It is extremely important for this very reason to regularly check which parts of your roads in the city are ‘red’.

Of course, there will always be some places that will have more traffic than others, but the objective should always be to build roads that allow free flow and minimize noise pollution.

The first thing you’ll probably be doing when building your city is creating roads.


Roads not only serve as transport means, but also allow for zoning. At the start, you want to be sticking to simple two-lane roads within your city to establish zones where you could create buildings. Once that is done, you’ll need to optimize your roads.

Roads can be drawn with the road tool, which has several options. The most basic is drawing Straight Roads. This tool will allow you to connect segments of straight roads to one another.

However, to make the road smooth and prevent slowing of trafficking, curving your roads in certain areas will be important. This is where the Curved road tool will come in handy.

Sometimes you’ll also need roads that are zig-zaggy, especially on uneven terrain. For this purpose, the Freeform tool is excellent for quickly drawing a mixture of straight and curved roads.

Once you have drawn the roads, you can also choose to modify them by using the Upgrade tool. This will allow you to change the structure of a road completely; you could make a two-lane road into a highway in the future with this tool.

You cannot however upgrade two-way roads to one-way or vice versa. Roads will also come with various decorations such as trees and specific fences. This will raise the upkeep and maintenance cost of the roads, but will greatly aid in reducing noise pollution.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to have roads with trees near residential areas.

Types of Roads

There are various types of Roads you can draw in your city. It is extremely important to understand the function and efficiency of each one, and to use them properly in conjunction with one another for the best traffic flow in the city.

Two-Lane Roads
Two-Lane Roads will be the most common type of road you’ll be using. They are useful within the city’s parameters for regular use, supporting light traffic. Vehicles that use this road type can go till 40 speed.

Note that these roads can be either two-way or one-way roads.

What makes two-lane roads extremely handy is that they do not create any signals at intersections. Signals are enemies of traffic in City Skylines and will create jams, so having a road scheme inside your city with minimal signals is the best way to go.

For this reason, you’ll be using two-lane roads for creating zones and inter-city transport.

Four-Lane Roads
Four-Lane Roads support medium traffic, and cars that use them can go up to 50 speed. However, these are one of the least efficient roads to use in City Skylines, as they create a lot of signals at intersections, which can cause a lot of traffic issues.

For this reason, it is best to avoid four-lane roads at all costs, and either use two-lane roads or six-lane roads for your main inter-city transportation.

Six-Lane Roads
Six-Lane roads are the most expensive of the three primary road types. They support heavy traffic and 60 speed. They work quite similarly to the two-way roads, except that they have additional lanes and allow for faster speeds.

Highways are meant to connect your city to the outside world, and also distant areas of the same city. They are the fastest roads as they support 100 speed. However, Highways create a lot of noise pollution, so it is usually advisable to create them far away from residential areas.

Highways do not support decorations, but they do have sound barriers, which will greatly reduce noise pollution, though they will increase the upkeep cost. Highways cannot be drawn with corners that are more than 90 degrees, so make sure they are as smooth as possible.

It is important to note that Highways only go in one direction, so you will have to build two of them. Note that when you are building your highway, the direction in which you draw is the direction the highway will be.

Also, highways cannot create zones, unlike the other road types. Therefore, you must be very careful to draw in the same direction while extended the highway, lest you want lots of accidents from incoming traffic on the same road.

Road Intersections

Like roads, Intersections come in various shapes and forms, and serve different purposes. Intersections will be extremely important in allowing your citizens to transition from one type of road to another, or for simply giving more options of travel in areas with larger buildings.

Round-abouts will the most frequently used intersection types in City Skylines. They come in two sizes, and will mostly be used inside the city.

The small roundabout is great for low density residential zones as it adds trees in the zone areas all around it, greatly reducing noise pollution.

Cloverleaf Intersection
The Cloverleaf intersection is a great intersection to interconnect two perpendicular roads together without any signals or stoppage in traffic. Generally, cloverleaf intersections work best to connect highways to the city roads.

Three-Way Intersection
While three-way intersections look pretty nice, it is not well-optimized currently in the game, and should be avoided for the most part. Cloverleaf intersections are much more efficient than three-way intersections at the moment.

Custom Intersections
Custom intersections will be the types of intersections you will use the most.

They are created by simply connecting different roads with a ‘parent’ road or main road. In order to get the best custom intersections, you’ll have to understand how intersections of different types of roads with one another are created.

When creating intersections between two-land roads, traffic signals will never be created. As stated earlier, traffic signals in City Skylines are very bad for vehicle flow, and should be avoided for the most parts of your road infrastructure.

No matter which types of two-lane roads you connect, you will never have any traffic signals to worry about. This is one reason why you should always avoid four-lane roads. These roads always create traffic signals when making intersections, which is why you should not use them.

As for six-lane roads, things are a little more complicated. Connecting a two-way road to a six-lane road will create traffic lights at the intersection.

However, when you connect one-way roads to the six-lane road, only the roads going into the six-lane road will have signals – the ones that are going out from the six-lane roads will have no signals, which is very hand as it allows you to use six-lane roads as ‘main roads’.

Bridges are basically roads that have been elevated. You can create a bridge by elevating a road by pressing the PG UP button (or PG DOWN to lower it). Bridges can go up five levels and have a specific slope they can be built till.

Bridges are excellent ways to bypass complex intersections for vehicles within the city who need to travel to the other side of the town. Bridges are also excellent for both bypassing highways and connecting them to the main roads of your city.

Traffic Management

Traffic management is tied to how your roads are designed. However, there are some scripted events that one must be wary of while creating the roads.

One of the bigger problems observed on roads near residential areas is of service vehicles. Service vehicles like garbage trucks or ambulances will completely stop their lanes, as cars will not try to overtake them and continue on. This can be rather problematic.

The scripting and overtaking issue is also observed when cars are on six-lane roads with multiple intersections. Cars will block certain lanes when trying to make a turn to an intersection.

Basically, they will prioritize the lanes according to the intersections, and not the traffic. Currently, the developers are working on the issue, which should be resolved in the next patch.

A good way to minimize congestion near the highways is to use cross intersections of two one-way roads with Highways to improve efficiency. This way, according to the above-mentioned script of cars prioritizing lanes according to intersections, the vehicles will spread out on the highway and use different lanes.

Try using this technique to connect the highway to the main parts of your city. By doing this traffic will be able to flow smoothly from one end of the city to another through the highways.

However, it is very important that you avoid creating zones near such intersections to prevent any service vehicles blocking the entire highway.

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Ali is a passionate RPG gamer. He believes that western RPGs still have a lot to learn from JRPGs. He is editor-in-chief at but that doesn't stop him from writing about his favorite video ...