These are measures we are already taking or plan to take to help to reduce congestion.

The measures presented here include providing better traffic and travel information, creating better public spaces and managing traffic, roads, parking and improvements to both public transport and cycling provision.

We are going to continue to provide all road users with traffic and travel information to enable them to make informed journey choices.

Better information

Cost: Low

Slight disruptions on the roads, such as roadworks, a minor accident or a breakdown, can have a significant impact, leading to longer journeys and increased emissions.

Variable message signs or VMS could be used at key locations to tell travellers of disruption, available parking, congestion, incidents and closures.

Messages can also be programmed around large scale events such as the Great Yorkshire Show and display real-time journey time and any temporary issues.

Variable message signs can range in size and will be erected on the road side.

The following locations may be suitable for new variable message signs.

  • A61/Swindon Lane
  • A59 Skipton Road
  • A61 Ripley
  • A1/A59
  • A661 Wetherby Road
  • A658 Harrogate Road
  • A6055 Hazel Bank   

Consideration will also be given to communicating real-time availability of  car parking spaces  to maximise parking capacity and reduce the need to drive around searching for a  space. This information could be displayed via variable message signs.

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Helps to reduce delays and traffic congestion
  • Better management of incidents such as road accidents
  • Diverts traffic away from disruption
  • Reduces unnecessary journeys
  • Need to install physical infrastructure
  • Maintenance costs and costs to install
  • Viewed by some as unsightly
  • Potential distraction for drivers

Real-time information

Real time information screen at bus stop in Harrogate

Cost: Low

Real-time information gives travellers up-to-date details of travel options to help them decide how and when to travel. This could be provided through websites, apps, notifications or fixed displays at for example bus stops, stations or shopping centres.

For public transport, real-time information can provide live updates advising arrival times, delays and other important messages.

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Makes sure travellers are better informed about journey times, public transport information and possible delays
  • Improves quality of public transport services and may lead to increased usage
  • Reduces unnecessary journeys and congestion
  • May require significant investment to ensure buses can provide this information e.g. installing GPS tracking
  • May not be possible on all public transport services/buses

Creating better places and managing traffic

Cycling in Harrogate

Cost: medium

We are committed to working with partners to create better places to live, work, shop and visit. Our focus is on creating an environment that encourages walking, cycling and use of public transport. These measures are not  ‘anti car’ but  pro-choice, ensuring all road users are catered for as far as possible.

  • Prioritising pedestrians and cyclists in the centre of Harrogate to reduce congestion, improve the environment and visual appeal of the area and make the town centre more attractive to visitors and businesses. This may involve less road space for vehicles and more room for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Removing some on-street parking or restricting access to buses or cyclists and introducing pedestrian--only zones on certain streets.  
  • Prevent heavy goods vehicles accessing wider parts of central Harrogate at particular times, such as  the morning and evening rush hour. Access and delivery arrangements could also be reviewed.
  • 20mph speed limit zones within Harrogate and Knaresborough to improve safety and create a better environment for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as businesses and visitors.
Key benefits Potential issues
  • Creates a more pleasant place to live, work and visit
  • Reduces traffic, congestion and air pollution
  • Improves access to town centre for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Encourages more walking and cycling and improves road safety
  • Reduced access for cars to town centre areas
  • Reduced access for HGVs at particular times
  • Potential impact on businesses in terms of deliveries
  • Requires on-street works, which may cause temporary disruption

Review of traffic lights and crossings

Cars passing through traffic lights at a junction

Cost: Low

There is an opportunity to review traffic lights, crossings and the wider road network in Harrogate and Knaresborough to see whether relatively minor changes can be made to reduce the time vehicles wait at traffic lights, improve how the  network copes with incidents, such as road accidents, and reduce noise and air pollution. These changes may include:

  • Changes to traffic light settings to help keep traffic flowing.
  • Giving buses more priority with either extended green light time or early green light time.
  • Discouraging use of side roads for ‘rat running’, making  these streets  more inviting to cyclists and pedestrians.
Key benefits Potential issues
  • Improves traffic flow and reduces congestion
  • Reduces journey times
  • Encourages greater public transport use, walking and cycling
  • Improves air quality and reduces noise pollution by reducing ‘standstill’ traffic
  • Improves road safety
  • May disadvantage vehicles if pedestrians and cyclists are given priority

Re-thinking how we use our road space

People getting on a bus in Harrogate

Cost: medium

There is an opportunity to re-think how we can best use the limited road space. This may involve re-allocating sections of road to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists, or public transport, as well as new cycle lanes and cycle-only routes. This will encourage more people to walk, cycle or use public transport, particularly for shorter journeys.

We can also use this additional space for greenery, wider and better designed footways and other measures to create a more  attractive place.

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Encourages more people to walk, cycle or use  public transport
  • Tackles air quality and noise pollution
  • Improves the attractiveness  of the area
  • Creates more open space and a more pleasant place
  • May lead to longer car journey times
  • May reduce overall network capacity
  • Less road space for non-public transport vehicles
  • Requires on-street works, which may cause temporary disruption

Re-thinking how we provide parking in Harrogate

Pay and Display car parking sign

Cost: low

We could rethink  the amount of parking in Harrogate, where it is and how much is charged. To reduce traffic and congestion in the town centre, we may need to reduce the amount of parking in the town centre. Pricing may be changed to discourage people from parking in the town centre. Through reducing town centre traffic, air and noise pollution can be reduced, road safety for pedestrian and cyclists improved and a more pleasant environment created.

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Encourages more people to walk, cycle or use public transport
  • Tackles air quality and noise pollution
  • Improves the attractiveness  of the area
  • Creates more open space and a more pleasant place
  • May lead to longer car journey times
  • Less road space for non-public transport vehicles
  • Requires on-street works, which may cause temporary disruption

Better public transport facilities and access

Buses at Harrogate bus station

Cost: high

This would create more modern transport facilities within Harrogate. It could include improvements to the bus and rail stations, and better links between the two, as well as creating a more attractive gateway to  the Harrogate area by bus and train.

In addition, access to the bus and rail stations could be improved by:

  • providing better footways and lifts;
  • better access for pedestrians and cyclists;
  • improved storage for cycles;
  • accessible changing and toilet facilities; and
  • better signage and tactile pavements for visually impaired users.

Consideration should also be given to improving access to other rail stations, including Knaresborough, Hornbeam Park, Pannal and Starbeck, to  encourage trips into or through Harrogate by rail.

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Better access to train and bus services
  • Encourages  walking, cycling and use of public transport
  • Improves gateway, making Harrogate more attractive to visitors and residents
  • May require construction work in central Harrogate, which could cause road disruption
  • May cause temporary disruption/diversions for public transport services
  • Higher cost than some other options


Improved cycling provision (F1)

cycles locked up at a bicycle park in Harrogate

Cost: medium

This would make cycling a more attractive way of getting around, especially for shorter journeys. To make sure cycling is accessible and appealing to everyone, the following changes could be made:

  • better cycling infrastructure, e.g. cycling lanes, signage, parking and safer routes into the town centre;
  • more cycling training opportunities, e.g. at school or work; and
  • promotion of cycling as a great choice for short journeys

Together, these changes can reduce congestion in Harrogate, and improve the health and wellbeing of residents, workers and visitors.

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Encourages more cycling and sustainable travel
  • Reduces air and noise pollution
  • Improves safety for cyclists
  • Improves health and wellbeing of residents and visitors
  • May give road-based traffic less priority in some areas
  • Requires on-street works, which may cause temporary disruption
  • May result in less road space for vehicles