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So I have been setting up my supply lines so that everyone heads directly to Sanctuary, and now the bridge always seems very busy. Which makes me wonder if that was a good idea.

Should I instead be setting up my supply lines so that there so that there are regional distribution hubs or something?

Maybe it is something else, but my current hub (Sanctuary) seems unable get above a population of 8, but all my other established settlements seem to have 15-20 residents. Are these supply lines keeping the bridge busy somehow blocking new settlers or something?

Basically I want to know how I should select my supply line paths.

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I don't know what would cause caravans blocking up the bridge for sure, but your hypothesis makes sense.

When I get a new settlement, I generally send a supply route from the nearest settlement that has a spare person. This results in the larger settlements with spare people supplying a few nearby settlements with 2-4 settlers. The route map looks like an inverted tree with a couple crossed lines.

At about level 45, at the end of the game, Sanctuary is my biggest settlement, with a couple others having 10+ settlers. I have some caravans on the road by the Red Rocket Station, but I wouldn't call it congested.

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I don't think that your supply lines block new settlers, as it seems to be a general Problem that Sanctuary keeps being underpopulated. I think, the reason is, that the recruiting signal is of limited range and there is just noone near enough. You can see a notification when you move out of range of the recruiting signal. There is also an easy way to test it. Send one of your settlers from another settlement to sanctuary and see if he arrives. ;)

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