Interchanges: Pop Culture

This page will always be a mishmash of commentary about how people neither in the transportation planning or roadgeek communities portray or talk about interchanges. Let's get started.

SimCity 3000

interchange in SimCity 3000

Maxis' SimCity has offered traffic simulation, with freeways and surface streets, for the last few versions. The model is very simplified: all streets are two-way and two lanes, while freeways are six lanes (four lanes in SimCity 3000) and elevated throughout, even while traversing the desert or scaling hillsides.

The four-way interchange rendering in SimCity 3000 (see screenshot) was a step up from the SC2000 version, yet still missing a few ramps. The three-way interchange can't be rendered, so SC3000 instead blocks off the roadways with construction barriers.

Diamond interchanges (you can see a ramp at the lower left of the picture) look nearly conventional.

Ramps do provide access in the model (they're not just for show; no ramp, no access) and you can install them individually.

SimCity 4

cloverleaf in SimCity 4

SimCity 4 offers greater interchange detail, with real cloverleaf interchanges, though all freeways were still elevated.

The SC4 Rush Hour expansion pack made SimCity roadgeeking much more fun, adding ground-level freeways, semidirectional T three-way interchanges, and four-lane boulevards.

Some very motivated and smart SC4 users at SimTropolis have created even more interchanges, including stacks and three-way directional Y's.


Many movies set in southern California include what seems like stock footage of flyover ramps to add local color. But a few movies feature specific interchanges in specific ways: