This includes the core measures as well as a series of major infrastructure changes.

It may be necessary to make major changes to help people and goods to move more easily around Harrogate and Knaresborough now and in the future. Changes of this kind require considerable investment and can result in compromises and impacts, especially environmental impacts, that are felt elsewhere.

The measures here consider more substantial changes, including major new infrastructure in the form of a relief road, provision of park and ride facilities on the outskirts of the towns and priority for buses along key routes into Harrogate town centre.

Due to the complexity of traffic modelling, and the flexible nature only of the packages it is not possible or practical at this stage to present a detailed, road by road, analysis of the traffic reductions achieved by each package.

However initial modelling has shown that package E would have a significantly greater impact on traffic flows on the existing network than the reductions achieved by package B. In particular with package E, the A59 in both Harrogate and Knaresborough and the A661 modelled show reductions of at least a third during the peak hour compared to between 5% and 10% reductions achieved by package B. This should be considered in the context of vehicle reductions not being the only objective of the study, particularly in the context of mode shift and the relatively conservative estimates that have been used for the potential uplifts for cycling and walking.

However, due to the early stages of this study and the flexible nature of these packages all of these figures should be seen as indicative only.  

This package would also include the core measures.

A bus pulling out of Harrogate bus station

Cost: medium

Why would this help?

Buses help to reduce congestion and improve air quality by making the most efficient use of road space, because each bus can carry up to 80 passengers, effectively removing cars from the roads.

Buses are particularly effective in urban areas moving people into a town centre, such as Harrogate, where a large number of trips begin and end.

To encourage people to choose the bus instead of their car, services need to be convenient, frequent, reliable and able to offer journey times comparable to travelling by car. When buses share road space with other vehicles journey times and reliability suffer.

By providing bus lanes and giving buses priority at junctions, we will see faster and more reliable journey times that, particularly if faster than driving, could encourage people to switch from their car to the bus.

Where would this be?

At this early stage, it is considered that this could include the following measures:

  • Taking advantage of traffic reductions from a relief road to reallocate road space to create new bus lanes (potentially at peak times only).
  • Improvements to bus stops and shelters to speed up picking up and dropping off passengers.
  • Smart traffic signals that can detect buses approaching a junction and offer them longer or early green light to reduce delays.

Potential routes and locations are shown on the map. The locations for bus priority improvements are indicative, and do not show final locations for either changes to traffic signals or introduction of bus lanes.

The map below shows: (Key)

  • Red circles show possible junctions where traffic signal changes and technology improvements could  improve priority for buses and minimise delays.
  • Blue lines show roads where it may be possible to introduce sections of bus lane. Bus lanes may not be along the full length of the identified routes.

A map of potential bus priority locations in Harrogate

Download a map of the  potential bus priority locations. (pdf / 307 KB)

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Improves bus journey times and reliability
  • Makes bus travel more attractive, encouraging people to use it instead of their car and reducing congestion
  • Improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists through less road traffic
  • Improves air quality and better environment in town centre as a result of fewer cars
  • May have a negative impact on car journey times in some locations as buses gain more priority.  
  • Reduces or restricts road space for other vehicles
  • Requires on-road infrastructure changes in some areas which may cause temporary disruption
  • May require reallocation of green space as well as highway, to ensure joined -up facilities

Cars at a park and ride facility

Cost: high

Some people will always need to use their cars. Especially for longer journeys from rural areas.

However, door-to-door journeys in our own cars lead to significant congestion in town centres, particularly centres of employment, such as Harrogate. Park and ride facilities are designed to help address this problem by enabling drivers to use their car for most of their trip, but switch to the bus for what would usually be the slowest and most congested part of the journey. This takes traffic off the busiest part of the roads and can deliver significant environmental benefits. Park and ride site is also a popular alternative for visitors.

Where would this be?

Further work would be needed to determine the potential of a park and ride scheme for Harrogate.

However, the most recent studies, which were not part of this project, suggest park and ride sites would be most effective located on the following routes:

  • The A59 on the outskirts of Harrogate and Knaresborough
  • A661 Wetherby Road
  • Dunlopillo (Pannal)

It is likely that providing a dedicated park and ride bus service such as those in York would be prohibitively expensive, so a Harrogate park and ride may be better using existing bus services. It is also important to note that an effective park and ride would rely upon making  bus priority improvements (also included in these measures) to make it more attractive by enabling buses to travel into the town centre more quickly than a car.

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Relieves congestion and reduces traffic on the busiest sections of key roads
  • Encourages more use of public transport
  • Improves air quality and environment in the town centre by removing cars
  • Improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists as a result of less traffic
  • Provides an alternative for visitor parking
  • A high cost measure that would need to generate enough revenue to operate
  • Potential loss of green space and natural environment
  • Requires physical infrastructure  that might cause disruption
  • Reliant on bus priority measures, which is difficult on a constrained network

Map of proposed park and ride corridor

Download a  map of the proposed park and ride corridor. (pdf / 266 KB) 


Map of potential relief road corridor

Download a  map of the potential relief road corridor. (pdf / 235 KB)

Cost: very high

Why would this help?

The most recent major road building in the Harrogate and Knaresborough area, the Southern bypass, was in the early 1990s. Since then thousands of houses have been built, and more have, or are awaiting, planning permission. More houses mean more people, and more cars, placing more pressure on the towns’ roads.

An outer northern relief road and Killinghall bypass, first proposed in the 1990s, had long been considered as having the potential to address some congestion issues in and around Harrogate, Knaresborough and Killinghall. Over the last two years, as part of this  study, further work has been done to establish the level of benefit different new road options could bring for Harrogate and Knaresborough.

The aim of a new road would be to relieve congestion in the towns and on the key roads that lead into them. Transferring traffic onto an alternative route would release space on the road to create a better environment and improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. It would also improve bus journey times on key routes, increasing the chances of people choosing these ways to travel.

Initial work suggests an ‘Inner Southern and Killinghall Bypass route without a link to Bilton Lane’ would be most effective in reducing traffic, potentially by up to 30% on some key roads in the town including:

  • A59 through Knaresborough;
  • A59 from Empress Corner to New Park Roundabout;
  • A661 in the vicinity of Woodlands junction;

Where would this be?

No detailed design work has been undertaken at this stage but we have identified a corridor along which a new road could be created. A route in this corridor is felt to represent the best balance between the congestion relief benefits and the environmental and other impacts. This corridor is shown.

Other options including a Western and a Northern bypass were also considered as part of this study but were rejected at an early stage as they did not provide sufficient congestion relief to justify their cost. As such we would not be able to get the money to build them.

It is very important to note that the corridor shown is indicative, and shows only possible new junctions and the approximate route a road could follow between them.

Further development work and consultation would need to be undertaken if this route is progressed further. Detailed traffic modelling, Environmental Impact Assessments and much other work would also be needed to inform the decision-making process and any bid for funding.

Key benefits Potential issues
  • Relieve congestion on the busiest roads, improved and more reliable journey times
  • Improved road safety and air quality on existing routes
  • Supports economic and housing growth, now and in future
  • Frees  road space to create a better environment for residents, workers and visitors
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle links to encourage more sustainable travel
  • Provides additional road space and therefore provides resilience and opportunity
  • High cost
  • Environmental and landscape impacts on the Green Belt
  • Loss of green space and environmental impacts especially in the Bilton Fields Area
  • Air quality and noise impacts in the vicinity of the schemes
  • Redistribution of trips will increase traffic on some existing roads
  • Does not actually reduce overall trips and may even attract some new trips to the network
  • Does not address short, internal trips

Drone footage showing potential relief road corridor.

A road of a similar design standard to the potential relief road

a road of a similar design standard to the potential relief road (the A658 Harrogate Southern Bypass near Rudding Park)

Showing a road of a similar design standard to the potential relief road (the A658 Harrogate Southern Bypass near Rudding Park)