In Cities Skylines the pollution system and its sources is very detailed. We can talk about garbage, water, but today we are primarily interested in noise. In this article, I will show you how does noise pollution work and what small changes you can do to improve your current situation.
In the image below, you can see an example of a city with noise pollution problems. On a special map you can see the “noise pollution” section.
As you can see, the noise pollution is almost everywhere on the map. In Cities Skylines, main sources of noise pollution are heavy traffic, commercial zones, industrial zones and unique buildings. Everything mentioned can be seen on the map above.
- First source of noise pollution – Mall of Moderation (unique building)
- Second source – high traffic in resident zones
- Third source – main road with commercial zones and roads leading to them.
In the bottom right corner you can see the highway, which also causes noise pollution (because of the traffic of course).
The first thing to do to reduce noise pollution is to identify where the source is and take some steps to prevent it. There are 4 basic steps you could do to reduce noise pollution, namely:
- Use noise reducing roads
- Better zone planning
- Use districts and policies
- Optimize public transport
In other parts of the article, we will look at noise pollution step by step.
Noise reducing roads
In the beginning you can use only “Two-lane roads” and “Four-lane roads”. They are simply good to start with. However, in the long-run, their level of noise reduction is not enough. It just means that some types of roads in Cities Skylines have noise reducing abilities.
These two roads have decorative trees which are something like a natural barrier to noise pollution. Getting these advanced roads can potentially upgrade your actual layout which will then reduce the level of noise pollution.
In the image below, you can see a part of my city just after I replaced basic roads with roads with decorative trees. The noise pollution was reduces almost immediately. It is not eliminated but it is still reduced significantly.
In the later phases of the game, when you will get high density zones, this will be a good quick solution to your noise pollution problems. The table below lists the best types of roads to use in Cities Skylines to reduce noise pollution:
|Type of roads||Which are best for reduce pollution|
|Small roads||Two-lane roads with trees|
Two-lane roads with median trees
|Medium roads||Four-lane roads with decorative trees|
Large avenue with grass
|Large roads||Six-lane roads with decorative trees|
Six-lane roads with median trees
|Highways||All with sounds barriers|
More tips for roads in Cities Skylines
Best traffic mods with 6 mods which you need to try
How to build curved roads to create more realistic Cities
Tips how to build raised roads in Cities Skylines to create bridges
And the best one is big guide about parking lots in Cities Skylines
Another good way to optimize your noise pollution situation is to think carefully about your zones tactics. The main source of noise pollution in Cities Skylines are high density commercial zones. So if you build them near residential zones, there may be problems with the satisfaction of your residents.
For that reason, it is good to make some space between these zones. If you plan to build a big city, try to consider implementing parks or trees. These can help reduce noise from commercial zones. In the later phase of the game, I usually build commercial zones near office zones so everyone can just walk home from the office and back through the commercial zone.
I recommend building commercial zones in the centre of your city. After that, it is good to build office zones and after them residential zones. To connect these zones directly, you can use parks or sidewalks.
Polices is another way to reduce noise pollution. There is a Heavy traffic ban policy that you can use to ban heavy traffic within your district. However, be careful. This policy will lead to deliveries with more vans, so traffic will also increase.
Or if you have the After Dark DLC activated, then you can use Old Town Policy. This puts the city in a mode where only people who work or live in a particular zone can use the cars. And of course it is again about the supplying. Another option for you can be NIMBY, which leads to closing buildings for the night.
Alternatively, you could use a combination of Combustion Engine Ban and Electric Cars. This means that all your residents will switch to electric cars. This will increase the demand for electricity and diesel cars will not pass in the district. Electric cars are significantly quieter.
And the last one is public transport. It is obvious that public transport generates noise. According to that, it may be a good strategy to reduce budget and intervals at night to reduce noise. On the other side, it would probably be a bad strategy to build big transport hubs in the centre of your resident zones. The same can be said for connecting your zones to crossing busses.
Keep public transport on the main routes and work carefully to avoid traffic jams or illogical lines. In one district, there can be only one busway in a district to connect residents to other districts. The same applies to more complex modes of public transportation.
Because of that, build Cargo public transport like boars or trains far from the city. Take for example industrial zones (Orange). They make a lot of noise and you don’t want them close to your residents.
Last tips with trees
In dev diaries about ParkLife DLC in 2018, I wrote:
As a part of the free update we have redone the logic for tree props, like in real life the tree will now reduce Noise Pollution!
To achieve this the system will calculate the density of tree in an area and create heat map based on that data. Places that have higher concentration of tree will have more pronounced effect.
So if you build a lot of trees around high sources of noise, everything will be ok. As I mentioned above with roads, trees reduce the noise. In the image below you can see that one part of highway has sound barriers (these remove all noise pollution) and the other part with trees doesn’t work much better than the part without trees.
To learn something about districts in Cities Skylines, use our district guide.
Tips to solve problems in Cities Skylines
What is land value and why you need to focus to get happy citizens
To play on bigger map you need unlock more tiles and inside I show how to use full maps