Shah Alam has a similar urban layout to Petaling Jaya or Subang Jaya, albeit with a twist: Shah Alam isn’t known as the city of roundabouts for nothing. It has 18 roundabouts spread throughout, connecting major road arteries from section 1 to section 25. Housing areas occupy most of the city with commercial centres making up most of the rest of the total of 56 city sections (Seksyen). The city has a number of shopping malls (Plaza Alam Sentral, (also known as PAS), SACC Mall, Plaza Shah Alam (formerly known as Shah Alam Mall (also known as Plaza Masalam), Ole-Ole Seksyen 18, Anggerik Mall and Kompleks PKNS). The district has many significant recreational areas and there are also many schools, shops, banks, eateries, cafes, hotels, medical centres, clinics and large hypermarkets (notably Tesco, Giant and Tesco Extra). Vibrant commercial areas are situated mostly at the city centre sections of (Seksyen 14), Seksyen 13 and Seksyen 9. There is a conspicuous absence of cinemas in the city as the city government has been discouraging of their development.
Main roads and streets in Shah Alam, including the new townships such as Setia Alam and Kota Kemuning all have signs with their names shown in both Roman and Jawi scripts.
Shah Alam is well connected to other main cities in the Klang Valley and by highways to main transportation hubs such as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) (KUL IATA) (30 km south of the city), the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at KLIA and the KL Sentral (railway station) in Kuala Lumpur. Trains and buses service Shah Alam and taxis provide public transport in commercial areas in the city and transport to Kuala Lumpur city and nearby attractions.
Shah Alam is about 20 km west of Kuala Lumpur and a part of the urban sprawl of Klang Valley. The KTM Komuter line from Kuala Lumpur to Klang stops in Shah Alam, but the station is not particularly conveniently located. The 2 stations which will be most convenient to get to the city center would be to stop by either at the Batu Tiga station or Shah Alam station which is located in Section 19. Particularly the Batu Tiga station is nearby Section 13.
Shah Alam KTM Komuter serves four stations in Shah Alam that lie on the Port Klang to Sentul line.
- Batu Tiga Komuter station
- Shah Alam Komuter station – situated at the southern part of the city in Seksyen 19
- Padang Jawa Komuter station – at Seksyen 17
- Bukit Badak Komuter station
Batu Tiga Komuter station, which also serves the same locality is located 1 km away from Shah Alam. The station is usually packed during rush hours and public holidays.