Cyberpunk 2077 has been criticized a lot since it launched. In fact, the game was deemed to be in such a sorry state by so many people at launch that Sony removed it from the PlayStation Store for a number of months. Despite the improvements made to Cyberpunk by CDPR, the game is now having its public transport system pulled apart by an actual expert in these matters.
This isn't a serious teardown of how exactly getting around Night City works in-game. This is more an indication that the fictional city was pieced together by game developers, not city planners. Kotaku spoke with TransitCenter's Jerome Horne, a director of transit leadership development, who explained why Night City's subway system simply wouldn't fly in a real-life city.
Horne explains that a city's transit system should be graded on four things. How much it costs to use, how much of the city it covers (adding that stations shouldn't be more than a quarter of a mile apart), it should be multimodal which means it incorporates multiple modes of transport, and passengers should never be made to wait longer than ten minutes for a ride. Cyberpunk actually ticks two of those boxes. Its subway is free to ride (at least for the players, NPCs might have to pay), and you can also ride it instantly whenever you like.
The other two boxes that need to be checked to make it work well, not so much. Night City's transit system is definitely not multimodal. Horne lists trains, buses, bike shares, streetcars, and trams, among other things, in what it takes to make a system truly multimodal. Cyberpunk only has two of those. It also has far fewer stops than would be needed in a real city of its size. Just 20 stations in a fictional city boasting more than five million NPCs. For comparison, Berlin is home to four million people but has 170 metro stations they can use to get around.
Suffice to say, if Night City were real, using public transport in an attempt to reduce your carbon footprint would be a waking nightmare. Let's be honest, using public transport in the real world can be difficult and frustrating at the best of times, even if all four of Horne's boxes have been ticked. As is the case in the virtual version of Night City, if it turns out to be an accurate depiction of the future, most of us will probably stick to cars.
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