Melbourne tram route 96 is a cross-city route connecting two very different suburbs, East Brunswick and St Kilda.
Ashland/63rd CTA station is a terminus of the Green Line, the only through route to run around the Loop on the Chicago 'L' rapid transit system.

A cross-city route is a public transport route linking one suburb (or satellite) of a city or town with another, usually relatively distant, suburb (or satellite).

Such a route can be operated by various forms of public transport, including commuter rail, rapid transit, trams (streetcars), trolleybuses, or motor buses.

Forms of cross-city routes

Through routes

Typically, a cross-city route will be a combination of two radial routes, each linking one of the outer termini with the city or town's central business district (CBD). Such a route is sometimes called a through route. (Note: The term cross-city route is not used in American English, and the similar American English term crosstown route has a distinctly different meaning, referring to a transport route that does not serve the city centre and runs generally perpendicular to radial routes.)

A public transport operator may combine radial routes into a through route because terminating a route in a city or town centre has certain disadvantages, including the following:[1]

On the other hand, there are certain advantages in terminating a route in a city or town centre:[1]

In most cases, the advantages of operating routes across a city or town centre outweigh the disadvantages,[1][2] but each case must be assessed on its own merits.[1]

Other forms

Another form of cross-city route is a peripheral cross-city route, which links a pair of (usually distant) suburbs (or satellites) without passing through or close to the CBD.[2] Such routes are also referred to as tangential routes, because they follow a tangential path relative to the centre of a network.[3] In American English, peripheral cross-city routes are called crosstown routes.

Although a public transport route that links nearby suburbs without passing through the CBD would fall within this description, such a route will commonly be set up, and better described, as a feeder route to either a radial route or a through route heading towards the CBD.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Route Planning". Urban Bus Toolkit. World Bank Group / Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b El-Hifnawi, M (2002). "Cross-town bus routes as a solution for decentralized travel: a cost–benefit analysis for Monterrey, Mexico". Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. 36 (2): 127–144. doi:10.1016/S0965-8564(00)00040-9. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  3. ^ Bruun, E (June 1998). "Tangential routes instead of radial extensions". Urban Transport International (17): 20–21. ISSN 1268-2241. Retrieved 10 May 2020.