Highways explain further on the need for the Woodlands traffic lights works

20 July 2014

Work will start on Monday (21 July 2014) to change the Woodlands traffic lights in Harrogate.

This will involve developing two lanes in and two lanes out of the junction for the main route in and out of town. There will also be a right-turn box for that route and enlarged islands for pedestrians.

The Highways Section of North Yorkshire County Council have said that changes are needed to increase capacity of the junction, improve air quality and  to make the junction safer for pedestrians.

The changes have not been universally welcomed with criticism being made on the limited public engagement.

Highways have provided a further level of information on the background to the changes.

Junction Capacity

Junction capacity analysis has been modelled using LinSig with the results being expressed in terms of Practical Reserve Capacity (PRC).

LinSig is a software tool for modelling traffic signals and their effect on traffic capacities/ queuing. It is also used to optimise signal timings to reduce delay or increase capacity at a junction or group of interlinked junctions.

The PRC is related to the degree of saturation of a traffic signal junction.

A positive PRC indicates that a junction has spare capacity.

A negative PRC indicates that a junction is over capacity and suffering from congestion.

The analysis of the current arrangement at Woodlands is a PRC of -4.9%.

Analysis of the proposed changes results in a PRC of 16.2%.

The inclusion of MOVA (Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation) traffic control could reduce delay by a further 13%. MOVA is a traffic signal control system that uses detectors and signal controllers.

Air Quality

From a survey undertaken last year the concentration at one location (the Wetherby Road side of the Woodlands public house) has increased to 42.35µg/m3 – this is Particulate Matter (PM 10) (gravimetric)

Under Air Quality Objectives included in Regulations LAQM (Local Air Quality Management – Defra) this should be:-

  • Particulate matter – 50μg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 35 times a year – 24 hour mean
  • Particulate matter – less than 40μg/m3 – annual mean

Public Engagement

The engagement with the general public involved letter dropping 100 residents/businesses around the junction. The letter drop took place on the afternoon of the 7 July 2014.

A letter drop on that date gave little opportunity for public comment to be incorporated in the design as it would have been highly likely that contracts for the work were already in place. Also there was no wider communication of the work through such routes as media releases. Communication of work such as this gives the opportunity for the public to avoid the area.

People can email traffic.management@northyorks.gov.uk for a consultation letter/drawing or to provide comment.


  1. So if NYCC installed the MOVA system we could see a 13% improvement, taking us from -4.9 to +7 or thereabouts?

  2. Blindly following the software. Wow! Makes me feel better already. So what assumptions were made in the model to get to this answer. Does it take into account the fact that traffic never merges easily back into one lane, especially on a short filter. People will use the extra lane to try and push ahead and there isn’t enough room for the traffic to merge.

  3. Utter lunacy and strangely NOT reassured by the fact that the council has followed a computer generated solution…..doesn’t take into account the Human factor. I have never met a merge lane yet that has worked as designed. They encourage bad driving and frayed tempers .there will always be the drivers that jump lanes and push in front. When will planners actually consult the people that use the roads.. Not just the selected 100 …surely this isn’t a true representation of the people that actually drive daily on the road through this junction.!!!!

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