Small Town Traffic Congestion

Policies for Alleviating Traffic Congestion in Downtown Hanover and Norwich
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 0708-12
Friday, April 27, 2007

While rural areas might not be known for their traffic, congestion is a significant problem in the downtown districts of many small New England towns. The towns of Norwich, VT and Hanover, NH have had to deal with traffic congestion in their downtowns. In Hanover, downtown congestion appears to have stabilized, and traffic levels have actually decreased in the last few years as gas prices have increased. In Norwich, on the other hand, the problem seems to be getting worse with a projected increase in traffic of 40 percent.

The nature of the traffic problem is not exactly the same between the two towns, but there are several policy options that can be used in either town to alleviate downtown congestion. These include:

  • Charge more for parking
  • Build alternative roads around downtown areas
  • Improve public transportation
  • Build more residential apartments within walking distance to downtowns
  • Synchronize traffic lights