Because the play spans thirteen years during the turn-of-the-century and centers on a small town, we "see" modernizing influences: people are locking their doors at night, buying automobiles, etc. Our Town makes it clear, however, that modernization doesn’t actually change the heart of the town. This is in keeping with one of the larger messages of the play: modernization may continue, but mortality and love will never change.
The encroachment of modernity has close to no impact on what truly matters in Grover’s Corners.
The encroachment of modernity functions in Our Town as a mechanism for showing the rapid pace of time.