Roads are the way to set up a transportation network in a city, as they connect buildings together, and provide a cheap way to provide a clear path around the city. Road are cheaper than other types of mass transit thoroughfares, (such as railways) and are the preferred way for Sims to travel. However, in some games there are the problems of maintenance, traffic and pollution from cars to consider.


SimCity only had one type of road available. It cost half the cost of a train track, but it also contributes to pollution and traffic. Unlike its successors, roads are not necessary due to train tracks having the ability to connect to other buildings, just like a road.

SimCity 2000

SimCity 2000 added more variety to the types of roads available. Along with the regular road, the highway was added. The highway is able to handle more traffic that the road, but takes up more space, is more expensive, and requires on-ramps to take effect. Tunnels were also available to go through hills. The player was also given a choice of bridges. The difference between then included price, the distance they could span, style, and whether ships could sail under them.

SimCity 3000

Not much changed between SimCity 2000 and SimCity 3000 as far as roads go. Two roads can be built next to each other to handle more traffic and for the way it looks.

SimCity 4

A screenshot released by Maxis, showing the new thoroughfares available

In SimCity 4, there are only streets and roads and highways available. Highways require an on-ramp for cars to get on them. Capacity-wise and visually, streets are for small neighborhoods as they are narrower than roads, and offer a lower vehicle capacity. Roads can handle more traffic, and served as the main thoroughfares in the city. Dirt roads were also initially included in the game, but upon the final release, it was no longer part of the game, due to unknown reasons at Maxis.

An image showing a Road (Left) and a Street (Right)

For highways there are 2 varieties of on-ramps and 2 types of highways:

Highway: A basic highway

A Highway

A Cloverleaf Highway

Cloverleaf: Used for making 2 highways cross

Overpass On-ramp: Used to connect highways and roads that are crossing

An On-ramp Overpass

Side On-ramp: Used to connect highways and roads that are running parallel

A Side On-ramp

The Rush Hour expansion vastly increased the variety of roads. One way roads allowed players to direct traffic more effectively, using the space a road or a street takes up. Avenues provided something between roads and highways, and after its introduction, avenues began to serve as the main roads in cities. Highways were also reintroduced, and had the option of being elevated or ground level. All roads, except streets and one-way roads, can be dragged over bodies of water to create bridges, although they cannot be dragged diagonally without the use of a mod.

Also, as the underground view was expanded in SimCity 4, tunnels were also introduced, allowing for roads to go underground. One drawback that remains, however, is that the terrain must be in the right condition in order for the game to allow to construct a road tunnel.


  • When dragging a large zone, streets will appear automatically as the main thoroughfare between lots. Keep shift pressed to disable the automatic generation of streets in the zone.
  • Only roads and higher capacity roadways can be dragged to make a neighbor connection. If the player tries to make a neighbor connection with a street, it will simply stop at the edge of the map without giving a neighbor connection popup dialog box.

SimCity Societies

There was only two types of roads in SimCity Societies, paved and non paved. The paved roads were 4 lanes. Stop lights would appear on all 4 way intersections, and stop signs on 3 way "T" intersections. Roads could also only be drawn in a straight line.

There are traffic going down the roads when zoomed in, and the player could click follow and follow vehicles down the roads, however there are no traffic jams and the player never really had to worry about traffic in this game.

SimCity Creator (Wii)

SimCity Creator brings back roads, highways, streets, railways and bridges. There are also some new features, including curvy roads, streets and railways and even an upgrade option that allows the player to upgrade streets into roads, and allows streets to be connected with roads, and even draw roads in circles. Tunnels, one way roads and anything else is not included.

SimCity (2013)

Unlike SimCity 4, roads in SimCity (2013) no longer has to be maintained, now carries city services such as power, water, and sewage without having to connect with water pipes or power poles, as well as building density being determined by type of road, rather than by zoning type.

There are 4 type of roads, as well as 3 types of avenues. The player can upgrade or downgrade them when needed by using the upgrade tool. The four roads can be interchangeably be upgraded or downgraded between each other, it is free to downgrade, but costs simoleons to upgrade them. The three avenues are the same but cannot become roads nor can roads become them without deleting and rebuilding due to them taking up more space.

One way roads are unavailable in the vanilla game without the use of mods such as UniDirectional Networks (UDoN).

List of roads in SimCity (2013)

  • Low Density Dirt Road
    • This dirt cheap narrow road supports low density zones with only stop signs at intersections. (Uses stop signs at intersections, the lowest capacity road, with only single lane total.)
  • Low Density Road
    • This narrow two lane road supports low density zones with only stop signs at intersections. (Uses stop signs at intersections, the lowest capacity of the paved roads, 2 lanes total.)
  • Medium Density Road
    • This narrow four lane road supports up to medium density zones, with traffic lights when intersecting medium density or higher streets or avenues. (Used stop signs upon release, now uses stop lights at intersections, 4 lanes total.)
  • High Density Road
    • This narrow four lane road supports high density zones with traffic lights at intersections. This road supports high density zones, but cannot be upgraded further. (Uses stop lights at intersections, the highest capacity of the roads, 4 lanes total.)
  • Medium Density Avenue
    • This wide four lane road supports medium density zones with traffic lights at intersections. (Uses stop lights at intersections, the lowest capacity avenue, 4 lanes total.)
  • High Density Avenue
    • This wide six lane road supports high density zones with traffic lights at intersections. (Uses stop lights at intersections, 6 lanes total.)
  • High Density Streetcar Avenue
    • This wide six lane road supports high density zones with traffic lights at intersections. Streetcar tracks running down the center provide support for Streetcar Stops. (Uses stop light at intersections, streetcar tracks in the median, the highest capacity road, 6 lanes total.)

There is another type of road that is in the game, but cannot be used within the city without using a mod:

  • Regional Freeway (Uses on-ramps and off-ramps, 6 lanes total.)

With the Update 7 of the game came the ability of putting bridges and tunnels anywhere using the M and N key to raise and lower road, respectively, although they were already in the game before if the player built through a mountain, or over water.

There are also several ways to build roads, such as building an entire block at a time, one segment at a time, in an arc, free draw, and circular (not roundabout, uses stop lights or stop signs still).

SimCity BuildIt

Roads in SimCity BuildIt are similar to its SimCity (2013) counterpart. While roads in SimCity BuildIt still carries services such as power and water, they can only be built orthogonally rather than free-form in SimCity (2013).

Only two-lane roads are available by default and is the one built using the road tool. While two-lane roads are free to build, they can be upgraded into four and later six-lane roads (once unlocked) using simoleons when necessary.

Types of roads in SimCity BuildIt

  • Two-lane road: Unlocked at start. Free to build.
  • Four-lane road: Upgradable from two-lane roads after reaching level 9. Costs §300 per tile to upgrade.
  • Six-lane road: Upgradable from four-lane roads after reaching level 15. Costs §1,200 per tile to upgrade from four-lane road.
  • Avenue: Upgradable from six-lane roads after reaching level 21. Cost §1,500 per tile to upgrade from six-lane road.
  • Boulevard: Upgradable from avenue after reaching level 27. Cost §2,000 per tile to upgrade from avenue.
  • Streetcar Avenue: Upgradable from boulevard after reaching level 34. Cost §2,500 per tile to upgrade from boulevard.
  • Maglev Tracks: Upgradable from streetcar avenue once omega homes are built. Cost §1,500 (NeoSimoleons) per tile to upgrade from streetcar avenue.

In a May 2015 update, three new types of roads were added. The roads are upgradable from the six-lane road to avenue (level 21), then to boulevard (level 27), and finally to street cars (level 34).

See also