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What is Open Harrogate?

Open Harrogate is a North Yorkshire County Council programme funded by the Department for Transport to promote sustainable transport. The County Council was awarded just under £1 million to help people make informed travel choices for the journeys they make. The bid document can be found in the resources section.

Traffic congestion is an ongoing issue in Harrogate, which leads to long, unreliable journey times and affects our environment and air quality. This results in lost and unproductive time sitting in traffic queues, as well as unpredictable arrival times for deliveries and workers. Walking, cycling, car sharing and public transport are all great alternatives to the car and can bring you great benefits; saving time, money and improving your health.

Open Harrogate is encouraging residents to opt for these modes and leave the car at home, at least one day a week, to help create a cleaner, healthier Harrogate.

What are we doing?

As part of Open Harrogate, we are working with schools, businesses and residents – particularly in new developments – to increase awareness of the different, more sustainable modes of transport available to them. This includes walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing.  Open Harrogate is providing residents, commuters, businesses and schools with tools they can use to take advantage of the various sustainable transport options in the area.

Benefits to Employers

Your business can get involved in Open Harrogate at no cost and employees can benefit from the following:

  • More reliable journey times
  • Cost savings
  • Improved mood, lowered stress and increased levels of concentration
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • Improved joint mobility
  • Better mental health

But if you choose to take part what’s in it for you as a business? Benefits of a more active workforce include:

  • Employees who are more active are more likely to be productive at work
  • A healthier workforce and reduced absenteeism
  • Free up car parking spaces for customers and visitors – 1 car is the equivalent to 10 bicycle spaces!
  • Improved corporate image – encouraging active travel reduces environmental impact and shows your commitment to the local community and the environment. It can also help you in working towards your Corporate Social Responsibility targets.

Tips for Employers

So how can you encourage your staff to travel more sustainably and consider other ways of commuting to work?

  1. Provide secure and sheltered cycle parking with clear signage and communicate this across your business.
  2. Set up a Bike User Group in your organisation to promote cycling, share ideas and offer support.
  3. Provide showers and/or changing facilities, lockers and clothes drying rooms to help your staff walk or cycle to work.
  4. Set up a car share scheme and offer members of the scheme great benefits like preferential parking.
  5. Promote public transport options to staff and offer a corporate discount scheme.
  6. Offer sustainable travel information to visitors prior to their visit to help them plan the best way of reaching your business, whilst considering a range of different transport options.
  7. Organise commuter challenges to prompt staff to consider other ways of getting to work; this may include walking challenges where the staff member who walks the most receives a special prize!

Open Harrogate can offer you with lots more hints and tips. We’re here to help and provide you with tailored guidance and support, which is all free of charge! Want to find out more? Just use the contact us page and a member of the Open Harrogate team will be in touch.

The school run can be a great time to get some gentle exercise, explore your local surroundings and help reduce congestion. It will also help with your physical and mental wellbeing, with teachers noting that students who walk or cycle to school are more relaxed and alert.

Is your school regsitered on Modeshift STARS? Modeshift STARS is a national awards scheme that recognises schools that have shown excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel.

Modeshift STARS is FREE to take part and every school in the country can take part regardless of size, type or location.

Why take part?

  1. Healthier pupils - by encouraging active, healthy lifestyles for young people through more walking and cycling
  2. Safer pupils - identifying issues and improving the quality of the environment around your school
  3. Involving the whole school community - children, parents and teachers working together to make a difference
  4. School Travel Plan - automatic generation of a new School Travel Plan which will deliver significant time and cost savings
  5. National Accreditation - you will receive the Modeshift STARS plaque, certificate and use of the nationally reognised logo
  6. The National STARS School Travel Awards - a chance to be considered for the National STARS School Travel Awards
  7. Changing Behaviour - STARS will provide you with the tools to reduce car use and increase the number of children wakling, cycling and using public transport on the journey to and from school.

For more information or support, please email us at

Residential Developments

We are working with new developments in the Harrogate area to help residents consider more sustainable and healthier alternatives to the car for their regular journeys including walking, cycling and public transport.

We made door-to-door engagements with residents to see if we can help them with their travel choices; providing travel maps and information to help make their journeys easier. Residents also received a personalised Sustainable Travel Information Pack with tailored information on walking, cycling and public transport options in their area, as well as a personalised journey plan.