As a result of increasing growth, many segments of New Hampshire’s arterial and collector roadway system are becoming increasingly congested. Between 1970 and 2000 the region’s population grew by 56%, compared to the State, which experienced a 67.5% growth rate (U.S. Decennial Census, 2000).
When access to property along roadways is uncoordinated, growth along major travel corridors can result in strip development and sprawl. Each driveway that intersects a roadway provides a point of potential conflict as cars turn off or onto the roadway. As a result, traffic slows down, the efficiency of the roadway is reduced and the potential for accidents increases. Communities can improve traffic flow and road safety by applying coordinated access management techniques.
Access management refers to the systematic control of the location, spacing, design, and operation of driveways, street openings and median openings to a roadway. Access management serves to balance the needs of an efficient transportation system and the need to access adjacent land uses. It can also involve developing provisions so that other modes of transportation can access land including, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Towns interested in adopting stronger access management can do so by amending zoning regulations, subdivision regulations, site plan review, and driveway permits as well as adopting memorandum of understanding with NH DOT on its driveway permitting process.
Listed below are common access management strategies for local officials to consider.