Are there any free roaming racing games where you basically get to choose your path by yourself. You can go for the shorter path except that it is crowded, or go for the slightly longer but emptier path
bonus points if it is modeled on a true city/town.
I know what your asking and I don't think so. I remember a Corvette game for PC a long time ago that was set in San Francisco and races were just from point A to B and how you got there was up to you. If you wanted to take the fwy it was longer and might be busy but the surface streets would defiantly be busy in some spots and you would have to air is out on the hills and so on. As far as a game like that today I don't think one exists. Some open games where you can free roam but when you get to a race it has a set route.
L.A. Rush is not a great game and it has Starforce but it is a decent depiction of the L.A., Long Beach, Gardena, Santa Monica ect. area. It's certainly not perfectly true to life but its pretty good. The game play is kinda sloppy and the races are defiantly point A to B on a set course. Some of the sign challenges give you a bit of choice on your route but still the path is well defined.
The closest thing to what your asking for I can think of is Need For Speed Most Wanted. It's going for 10 to 20 bucks and is part of a set of I think 3 for the 20 buck variety on PC and PS2. If you pick up the set it will have NFS Underground 2 also and that has free roam in-between races but again the races are on a set path. NFS Most Wanted has the police chases and that is just haul ass wherever you can to get away so in essence you pick your own route for those "races"
If anyone knows of a better arcade racer with open city A to B undefined route please speak up because I would like to know too:)
You could give the Midnight Club series a try, the races themselves are open to you to choose a path as well, along with just being able to drive around freely. There's a new one in production, but there's three of them already out there for the PS2.
Midtown Madness is the only one I know of that comes close to that description. Sega also had a motorcycle arcade game which worked like that but I don't know the name, and it hasn't hit home consoles. it came out around when Crazy Taxi was made.