Simcity 2013: All About Roads

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Roads are the central component that ties your city together. Not only will roads determine zone density, but it will also be used to deliver water, power, and sewage.

There are two types of roads:

  • Small Roads
    • Can upgrade from Dirt Roads and Two-Lane roads up to Four-Lane Roads with traffic lights
    • Dirt Roads and Two-Lane roads are limited to low density types.
  • Large Roads
    • Can upgrade from Boulevards to Avenues.
    • Starts out with mid-density zones, but when upgraded, they can support higher densities.

When you upgrade each road type, you get access to the next density tier. Low tier roads will usually have stop signs while high tier roads will get access to stoplights.

Basically it goes like this:

 Small Roads Types

  • Dirt road (Low Density)
  • 2 Lane Roads
  • 4 Lane Roads (High Density) (Traffic Lights)

Large Road Types

  • 4-Lane Avenues (Medium Density)
  • 6-Lane Avenues (High Density)
  • 6-Lane Avenues (High Density with street cars)

As you lay down roads, there will be parallel guides showing you the best distance apart to build the next adjacent  road. If you are creating grid-like cities, these guides will show you how far apart roads should be to make best use of that space. The distances it suggests between roads will be based on road type. (High density roads support high density buildings, which means larger distances between parallel roads.)

The road tool can create different types of roads which include:

  • Curvy Roads [Smooth]
  • Straight Roads [Block, Grid-like cities]
  • Freehand Roads [To curve around mountains or shorelines]

You can make bridges over bodies of water and canyons, or cut through mountains to build a tunnel. The game handles this on a civil engineering scale automatically deciding what is the best cheapest path through various terrain.



As your population rises, you’ll have to balance the traffic flow by strategically upgrading existing road types so that it can accommodate more cars. However, upgrading these roads allow for higher density buildings, which leads to even more traffic. Placing public transportation around these areas can alleviate gridlock.

 [via polygon, simcity blog]

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11 thoughts on “Simcity 2013: All About Roads”

  1. Roads can not be upgraded to avenues. In this case this correct upgrade list is.

    Small roads

    Dirt road (Low Density)
    2-Lane Roads (Low Density)
    4-Lane Road (Medium Density)

    Large roads

    4-Lane Avenues (Medium Density)
    6-Lane Avenues (High Density)
    6-Lane Avenues (High Density with street cars)

  2. Even though the roads have multiple options for lanes, do they take up the same amount of physical space? In other words, will I have to bulldoze buildings to make the streets wider when upgrading the roads’ density level?

    1. So you see how there’s Small Roads and Large Roads? The Small Road types can upgrade to their highest density without bulldozing. The Large roads can upgrade to the highest density without bulldozing. But if you want to transition from a Small Road type to a Large Road type, you’ll have to bulldoze. Basically you’ll bulldoze buildings if you go from 4-lane streets (small roads) to 4 lane avenues (large roads)

  3. Michael,
    Thank you so much for the quick reply! With that in mind, I think I’ll build a framework with my infrastructure comprised initially of 4-Lane Avenues (Medium Density) and dirt roads. I’ll upgrade from there to minimize bulldozing. If you’d like to add me within Origin, my ID is Wodin79.
    Thanks again!

  4. I’ve been playing and I haven’t figured out how to upgrade roads. I’ve tried to drag new roads on top of the old roads (within the small roads category) and it just doesn’t do anything. I’ve had to bulldoze and start from scratch. Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong?

  5. Satchow, I was looking for the same thing, and I just found it. On the bottom left of the screen, just under the hard-hatted guy, next to the Guides checkbox, there’s a refresh icon. Click that, and you can upgrade your roads. In steps, from low to medium and medium to high. Enjoy!

  6. do you know of any way to examine a road? Only way I have found so far is to select the upgrade tool and select, then see what upgrade level I can choose.

  7. there is a glitch in Simcity 2013, when you return to your game, you cant delete the roads, they’re no longer recolonized, you can’t build on then nothing. does any one know when this will be fixed or how to fix this very irritating problem

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