Transport Fever

Transport Fever

108 ratings
Truck and Engine Efficiency Guide
By Mondkalb
Is there a minimum distance that trucks need to travel before they throw off profit? How much does my train need to load to not make a minus? And how far should the goods be sent? Does greater distance equal more profit? What about vehicle speed?

All these questions led me to investigate and in turn write this guide answering them.
Methods used
Before I could start with calculating the efficency ratings of the individual vehicles I needed a way to gather data and parameters and establish basic assumptions about the game to work with.

And to please my old physics teacher, declare and carry my units properly:
  • Distance Units: Kilometres
  • Speed units: Kilometres per Hour
  • Power units: Kilowatts
  • Weight units: Kilogramme
  • Force units: Kilonewtons

Metric, isn't it nice?

Assumption One: Distances are indeed metric
Using the Measurment Ruler from the Steam Workshop I was able to establish that a small map in Free Play is 8.2x8.2km and a large map is 16.4x16.4km. This seemed like a reasonable figure from a programming point of view. (2^13 = 8.192; 2^14 = 16.384)

This gave me a reasonable trust in that the ruler is being correct. But that alone is not enough for me. Lets cross-check this...

Assumption Two: Speeds are to scale
I build a highway that was super-flat, had high-speed and was almost exactly 7km long. Each end had a Truck Loading Station. I bought the 40t truck and sent it on the road to time it going the 7km distance at 100km per hour. I used my regular stopwatch for this.

My result was that the truck took 256 seconds for 7000 metres. Calculating the velocity of the truck came out to be 27.343m/s, which are 98.4348 kph. It was within the 2% error margin and I attribute the deviation to acceleration/deceleration which I will ignore in this guide.

Assumption Three: An ingame day is 2 seconds
I simply let the game go while running a screen recording. Then i cut the footage to be exactly one day long by waiting for the date stamp in the bottom right to switch three days.

It turned out to be exactly 2 seconds.

This means in the realm of Transport Time:

Transport Fever Time
1 day
2 seconds
0.5 days
1 second
29 days
58 seconds
30 days
60 seconds
31 days
62 seconds
12 minutes and 10 seconds

I'm using a 365 day-year here for broad averaging. I haven't checked if the game does leap-days.

Now that the metrics are sorted I can start to math up things.

Efficiency Formula:
Variable x being the distance to check the efficiency for.

I managed to bake this down into a nice little equation that spits out a fraction describing how many percent of your delivery is lost on upkeep. The minus-one at the beginning means it will spit out how much we get to keep of the money earned.

Time in Depot was assumed to be 20 seconds. This is the time a vehicle will wait or move through the depot.

What it essentially does:
  • Reward = TicketPricePerKilometer * Distance * Amount
  • WaitTimeInDays = DepotTimeInSeconds * 0.5
  • TravelTimeInDays = (Distance / MaxSpeed) * 1800
  • TotalTravelTimeInYears = (WaitTimeInDays + TravelTimeInDays) / 365
  • Cost = MaintenancePerYear * TotalTravelTimeInYears
  • Efficiency = 1 - (Cost / Reward)
Public Transports (Road)
So straight away: Results in a graph

We see that trucks do not have a minimal viable distance at maximum load. All start at around 70%. They all are profitable, no matter how far, as long as they are fully laden. However, their efficiency does increase over target distance. After about 1km this improvement is only very small.

The reason for this being that the truck takes time to get loaded and unloaded. This is all time spent costing money without moving cargo. It can very well be that the distance and amount of cargo served does not cover the cost of waiting and idling.

So I took the above equation and plotted it for a variable load for a 1km delivery:

Ok, thats a bit messy. Lets focus in on the break-even line:
We can see that all buses throw a profit at 1km when at least two people are riding with us. Only the Volvo 5000 sticks out here. It requires three passengers to not drive a minus.

However, we use buses at smaller distances. Lets see how it looks here. Lets focus in on the same area of the graph for distances 100m, 200m and 300m:




The trend is clearly visible. The further the bus goes, the fewer people are required to make it profitable. Weird...

At super short distances you may require a fully laden vehicle to make a plus at all.

Lesson learned:
have bus-stops at least 300m apart. Better if farther.
Cargo Transport (Road)
This will be exactly the same as for the passengers. As the game treats people the same as cargo.
Indeed, trucks at full load are instantly profitable. No matter how far the distance to travel.

So lets look again at a graph where load is a variable and the distance is set to 1km:

Such a nice graph! We can see that at 1km distance all trucks still throw a profit with at least two units of cargo, although more modern vehicles will be considerabily less efficient at lower loads.

Just for fun, lets see what it looks like at 500m:

A minimum of three units. Just slightly above three units for the 40t Truck!

So make sure not to send your vehicles with too little load!
Rail Transport
On rail things are slightly different, as you can control how many units of capacity a certain engine carries along. So here I will exclusively focus on minimum load.

1km Distance:

Oh wow. Efficiency went down to -2100% for the Class 103. I cropped it at -500% to make the rest not disappear. Lets focus in on around the break-even line:

1km Distance (Focused):

Minimum cargo load at 1km distance:
Minimum cargo at 1km
Class 53 Prussian G3
Class 89 Prussian T3
PLM 220
A 3/5
Class 75.4 Baden VIc
Ce 6/8 II Crocodile
A3 Flying Scotsman
Ae 4/7
Class A4
Class E 94
Re 4/4
Class V100
Class 1042
Class 103
Class 218
Class 185
Class 246
CLe 2/4 Red Arrow

One last look, this time at 3km distance:

Not as bad. A minimum of 18 units of cargo for Class E 94.

Let me know in the comments if you have a different area of the game I should focus on and do an analysis.

Also, please, no direct messages. I will ignore all friend requests on steam. Please use the comments for this, I will read them. :)
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Malaxit Mar 23 @ 12:08am 
Trucks are imbalanced
Mondkalb  [author] Mar 12 @ 1:37am 
I very likely won't get around to analysing the other vehicles. However you can easily do it yourself, I've described my methods and tests for you to adapt and repeat. :)

LexingtonDelta Mar 11 @ 7:39am 
be interesting for Passenger trains
Peregrine Mar 7 @ 8:11pm 
Definitely +1 for adding USA vehicles and aircraft.

Good work.
Garrish Jan 24 @ 7:57pm 
Will this at some point cover all vehicles in the game?
Fiachra Dec 23, 2018 @ 5:15am 
This is excellent work, thanks!
Dionysusnu Jul 31, 2018 @ 7:09am 
and USA trains?
Dionysusnu Jul 29, 2018 @ 2:05am 
could you make this for trams?
[RA]Khurt Jul 15, 2018 @ 3:36am 
Wouldn't it be way more interesting to invert the function, set efficiency to 0 (breakeven) and plot a km vs cargo graph? Just my two cents.
Nicely done btw.
Aldodrem Mar 4, 2018 @ 8:33pm 
does operating a train line using multiple engines to pull it increase or reduce the profitability and at what point.