How to cope with busy airports (and other stations)?

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Herasmus
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How to cope with busy airports (and other stations)?

Post by Herasmus » 20 Mar 2019 01:46

I couldn't find these questions through search, so I'll just ask it, hoping it is in the right place also.

I've been playing for years already, but just did everything by myself without the manual or any tips/tricks. My problem is that even though you can build bigger and bigger airports, planes are still flying around them. The intercontinental airport takes up a lot of space, but seems to have very little advantage over smaller airports when it comes to capacity. When about 25 or more planes are using the airport, it can take loads of time until a plane found a spot to land, which of course hinders productivity and lucrativity of the operations. In my most recent game I decided to set all my planes to get fully loaded before they depart, so they would possibly stick to the terminal a bit longer. But the airport is generating such huge amounts of passengers that planes are always instantly full, so that this setting doesn't make a difference. So I'm wondering if there's any trick to make the airport more efficient. Because as I said, it takes up a lot of space, but usually there is just 1 gate used at each side of the airport (out of the 4), because when the aircraft departs, it's blocking the taxiway for the incoming aircraft. So my question is basically why I would build a bigger airport if 75% of the gates are usually not used because the taxiway is designed to block other planes if one is using it, while in the sky planes are flying around the airport having difficulty to land? Or to make it even more simple: why does my airport look rather empty while the sky around it is full?

And then a subquestion, which also applies to railway stations, bus stops and ports, is the following: many of them are attracting so much passengers that there is absolutely no way for me to have enough vehicles to balance it at a moderate level and make the most out of the huge passenger numbers. With ships, space is not the problem since they are able to be on the same tile simultaneously, but with trains, aircraft and buses there's simply a limit to space and infrastructure capacity to allow so many vehicles serving a station. Are there any tips on how I could create the capacity to serve more passengers at a station and eventually bring the numbers down? I like to play a bit realistically, so using huge amounts of space for more and more railways all over the map is not really an option for me, if you understand what I mean. Of course I add more railways at busy points though.

And lastly, it bothers me that, when I put more ships on the same route, they will eventually 'join' each other and arrive at ports all at once, while I would like them to keep some distance and arrive at different times so they're not exhausting the port of arrival, while on the other hand letting passenger numbers at the other ports on the route launch to astronomical numbers until the ships are back. Anything that could prevent this 'joining'?

Let me be clear that my companies are usually very profitable, so it's not like these 'problems' are any considerable harm to my company and budget, but I'm just bothered by the inefficiency I observe.

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acs121
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Re: How to cope with busy airports (and other stations)?

Post by acs121 » 20 Mar 2019 02:09

Before everything I'm going to say - Intercontinental airports are incredibly inefficient. But, like, really. Interantional airports can, in fact, hold much more planes, because it has shorter landing strips.
Here's a solution I can propose.
In the Advanced Settings, turn on "Multiple airports per city".
Now, let me tell you that if you have disabled airplane crashes, it may be better to build many Suburban airports. Because of their quite short landing strips, these airports are much more efficient than any other at a certain scale. Redirecting your planes per region on those suburban airports can turn out better than just one intercontinental airport.

But you're going to tell me "acs, I want passengers gathered into one single place."

Then it's simple.
Go again in the Advanced Settings, and set passenger distribution to symetric.
Now, create a station with, like, 4 tracks or 6. Then, create lines (single or double-track, whatever) to your airport. Next, build a few trains to make them serve all those airports and the "Central station".
Symetric passenger distribution will somewhat equally distribute passengers between airports, and may turn out to be extremely helpful in dense urban areas where one will struggle to take all passengers.

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Re: How to cope with busy airports (and other stations)?

Post by Herasmus » 20 Mar 2019 02:29

acs121 wrote:Before everything I'm going to say - Intercontinental airports are incredibly inefficient. But, like, really. Interantional airports can, in fact, hold much more planes, because it has shorter landing strips.
Here's a solution I can propose.
In the Advanced Settings, turn on "Multiple airports per city".
Now, let me tell you that if you have disabled airplane crashes, it may be better to build many Suburban airports. Because of their quite short landing strips, these airports are much more efficient than any other at a certain scale. Redirecting your planes per region on those suburban airports can turn out better than just one intercontinental airport.

But you're going to tell me "acs, I want passengers gathered into one single place."

Then it's simple.
Go again in the Advanced Settings, and set passenger distribution to symetric.
Now, create a station with, like, 4 tracks or 6. Then, create lines (single or double-track, whatever) to your airport. Next, build a few trains to make them serve all those airports and the "Central station".
Symetric passenger distribution will somewhat equally distribute passengers between airports, and may turn out to be extremely helpful in dense urban areas where one will struggle to take all passengers.
Thank you for your answer! So it's not really my fault that my intercontinental airports are inefficient then. I don't know my exact settings, but I know that right now a maximum of 2 airports is allowed per city. You can of course go around this by placing another airport in a suburban town. In my most recent game I built two intercontinental airports in one city, one for freight and one for passengers. This helped to relieve the oldest airport a bit, but still they're not efficient. So I will experiment with smaller airports then. And I can take a look into my settings. I have the airplance crashes disabled since it took me too much time to replace them, while I could invest that time in other aspects of the game.

The stations solution sounds like something, but as I understand it now, it seems difficult to implement in a large city where space is barely available. Maybe I can try it out in a next game or in a smaller city that still has space. But my current game is very urbanised already haha

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Re: How to cope with busy airports (and other stations)?

Post by kamnet » 20 Mar 2019 05:55

I will also offer this suggestion. OpenTTD is not meant to be a realistic simulator. If you want to play it with 'realism', then one of the easiest things you can do is simply pay no attention to the number of passengers waiting. If you are playing with CargoDist enabled and with passengers delivered symmetrically, the game will eventually scale back the number of passengers to match the capacity of your network.

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acs121
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Re: How to cope with busy airports (and other stations)?

Post by acs121 » 20 Mar 2019 12:31

Herasmus wrote:So it's not really my fault that my intercontinental airports are inefficient then. I don't know my exact settings, but I know that right now a maximum of 2 airports is allowed per city. You can of course go around this by placing another airport in a suburban town. In my most recent game I built two intercontinental airports in one city, one for freight and one for passengers. This helped to relieve the oldest airport a bit, but still they're not efficient. So I will experiment with smaller airports then. And I can take a look into my settings. I have the airplance crashes disabled since it took me too much time to replace them, while I could invest that time in other aspects of the game.

The stations solution sounds like something, but as I understand it now, it seems difficult to implement in a large city where space is barely available. Maybe I can try it out in a next game or in a smaller city that still has space. But my current game is very urbanised already haha
Well, intercontinental airports are inefficient for one simple reason.
Not only they have very long landing strips, which takes more time at take-off and landing, but their 4 landing strips reduces even more their efficiency. Why ? Because a plane that will take-off has to taxi through the airport, blocking some airplanes, and then it has to go through the lane where planes land, only to take-off.

Thus, you might prefer returning back to International airports. Also, do NOT use Metropolitan airports. They're inefficient for the same reason as the Intercontinental ones. If you like realism, use Urban airports, they look quite great in general and not too messy or unrealistic.

Also, you can still try to demolish a few tiles downtown, using a RoRo station (guide here : https://wiki.openttd.org/Railway_station) to make your network capacitary. Admitting your station has 2 tracks, serves 3 double-track lines serving 3 airports at about 150-200 tiles from the station, you will be able to fit about 12 trains per line.

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Re: How to cope with busy airports (and other stations)?

Post by Herasmus » 24 Mar 2019 03:13

Thank you guys!

Of course it's still a game and it cannot be completely realistic, but I try to find a balance between game and realism. But I will look into the settings you're suggesting!

I often use the basic RoRo-stations for metro lines because they have smaller, but still high capacity trains, which comes handy in urban areas. For the intercity network, the trains are longer and the lines busier, so I don't use single track railways there and bigger RoRo stations.

When it comes to airports, I'll experiment then with what works the best for me.

Are there also any recommendations regarding the things I mentioned for ships?

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Re: How to cope with busy airports (and other stations)?

Post by acs121 » 24 Mar 2019 15:09

If your problem is with ships stacking together, go in the orders, and add timetables common to each ship (like, stay 3 days at X dock) and space them evenly. If this doesn't work, use JGR's Patchpack and go in the Advanced Settings to enable "Ships cannot collide" setting or whatever. It'll prevent them from stacking each other on the same tile.

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