Transport in Luton

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
East Midlands Trains diesel train approaching Luton Parkway station

Luton is less than 50 km (30 miles) north of the centre of London, with good links with the City and other parts of the country via the motorway network and the National Rail system. Luton is also home to London Luton Airport, one of the major feeder airports for London and the southeast. Luton is served by buses run by Arriva and other operators, and by a large number of taxis. As a Unitary Authority, Luton Borough Council is responsible for local highways and public transport in the Borough and the licensing of taxis.


File:M1 Motorway near Luton.jpg
Junction 11 on the M1, one of two junctions for Luton

Luton is connected to the M1 motorway, and with the A6 and the A505.

The M1 connects with Luton at Junctions 10 and 11 to the south and west of the town, providing access to London and the North. A new junction is under construction at the northern edge of the town, this will be named Junction 11a and will link to the A5 just to the north of Dunstable (completion due early 2017). The A6 starts in the town and runs north to Bedford and the North West. It previously extended south to Barnet, but this section has been re-numbered the A1081. The A505 provides connections east to Hitchin, the A1(M) and East Anglia; and west to Dunstable and the A5. The A505 forms a southerly ring road around the town, with the A5228 providing a more direct northerly bypass with the A505.


Luton is served by three railway stations on the Midland Main Line: Luton, Luton Airport Parkway and Leagrave. First Capital Connect runs the Thameslink route north to Bedford and south to Brighton via central London stations. East Midlands Trains regional and intercity services run north to Leicester, Nottingham, Lincoln, Sheffield, Leeds and other cities, and south to London St Pancras International.

There are plans to introduce 24-hour rail services to Luton and Luton Airport Parkway.[1] The Thameslink Programme will provide further links to southwards to Guildford, East Grinstead, Ashford, Dartford and the South Coast.[2]

Bus and coach services

Bus services are provided in the main by the national group Arriva,[3] through Arriva The Shires Ltd, based in Luton. Other significant local operators include Centrebus[4] and Grant Palmer.[5] Uno operates buses to the Hatfield campus of the University of Hertfordshire. Stagecoach runs services to Bedford through its Stagecoach in Bedford subsidiary, and operates the Virgin Trains Express Coach service VT99 from Luton Airport and Luton station to Milton Keynes Central. Regional and commuter coach services from Luton are operated by National Express, Marshall's Coaches[6] and Green Line Coaches.

Luton to Dunstable Busway

The Luton-Dunstable Busway is a Guided Busway connecting Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Luton with Luton Airport. The guided busway runs for 13.4 kilometres (8.3 miles) and was opened in September 2013.[7]

Luton Airport

Luton Airport is 2 mi (3.2 km) from Junction 10a on the M1 and is the fourth-largest airport serving the London area, after Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and is one of London's six international airports along with London City Airport and London Southend Airport. The airport is a hub for EasyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways and Ryanair.[8] Most of the routes served are within Europe, with some charter airline routes to intercontinental destinations.


Luton and Leagrave stations were built by the Midland Railway in 1868 on its extension south from Bedford to St Pancras. Leagrave Midland station buildings still exist, having been restored in the 1980s. For some years Luton station was called Luton Midland Road to distinguish it from the earlier Luton Bute Street, built by the Luton, Dunstable and Welwyn Junction Railway Company in 1858, later part of the GNR. Bute Street closed in 1965.[citation needed]

Construction of the first section of the M1 in 1959 meant that Luton was one of the first towns in the United Kingdom to be linked to the new motorway network.[citation needed]

The A5, which passes through nearby Dunstable, is on the route of the Watling Street, an ancient route of England.

Luton Airport was opened for passengers at the end of World War II. Passenger numbers more than doubled from 1992 to 1998 when the growth of low-cost flights rejuvenated the airport, and it was expanded in 1999 with a new terminal building and Luton Airport Parkway railway station railway station opened.[9]

Recent developments

East Luton Corridor improvements scheme

In 2006 work started on widening the M1 past Luton and to the south, and on upgrading the access from the M1 to the airport, as part of the Local Transport Plan east Luton corridor improvement scheme.[10]

This scheme will provide dual-carriageway access to Luton Airport from the M1 and increased capacity at some junctions in the area. It aims to improve safety, reduce accidents, improve access to existing and potential development areas, improve access to and between public transport interchanges and public transport journey times and reliability, reduce congestion and improve reliability air quality and ease pedestrian/cycle crossing at junctions. Work started in 2008[11] and was completed in Spring 2009.[12] The cost was estimated at £22million in 2003.[13]

Current developments

Luton gateway

A new multi-storey car park and railway footbridge are being built close to Luton station. The existing multi-storey car park was closed in 2008.[14]

This work is the first stage in the Gateway project, which includes building a new station ticket hall building, a new bus interchange and approximately 375 flats, a hotel, shops, restaurants and cafes.[15]

Proposed developments

Luton town centre transport scheme

Luton town centre transport scheme
Location Luton
Proposer Luton Borough Council
Cost estimate £26.9 million
Start date Before 2014
Geometry KML

Luton town centre is planned to undergo redevelopment starting before 2014 at an expected cost of £26.9 million.[16] The development is intended to improve access to the railway station, which will become part of a new rail and bus interchange.[17] Part of the road route is not yet finalised, the two options under consideration are known as the "red route" and the "green route".[18] The Luton Town Centre development has been placed in the Pre-Qualification pool by the Department for Transport for securing funding. Compulsory purchase orders approved for red route (May 2012). The scheme will need to be deemed one of the best 34 in the pre-qualification pool to make it to the qualification pool where it can compete for funding at the end of 2011.[19]

Luton Northern Bypass

Luton Northern Bypass
Location Luton
Proposer Luton Borough Council
Cost estimate £95 million
Completion date 2016
Geometry KML

A northern bypass has been proposed, between the M1 and the A505,[20] expected to be completed by 2016 at a cost of £95 million. At the M1 it will meet the proposed Dunstable Northern Bypass, resulting in a northern bypass for the whole Luton-Dunstable urban area. The easternmost section of bypass may follow the current edge of urban Luton, though the Luton and South Bedfordshire committee favours an outer route, further from the town.[21]

Construction of the bypass is expected to benefit congestion, accessibility and air quality in Luton but have an adverse effect on the landscape, biodiversity and possible archaeological sites.[22]

M1 Junction 10A

M1 Junction 10A
Location Luton
Proposer Luton Borough Council
Status Completed
Type Road
Cost estimate £20 million
Start date Jan 2014
Completion date Apr 2015
Geometry KML

Work was in progress to make major changes to M1 Junction 10A, at the end of the Luton spur from the main M1, to relieve congestion which had increased since the completion of the Luton East Corridor. An exhibition of options was held in September 2009, with work beginning in January 2014.[23][24] At this exhibition it was revealed that Luton Borough Council plan to implement a three roundabout interchange area for traffic. It was completed in April 2015


  1. First Capital plans
  2. Network Rail (18 October 2006). "Map of expanded Thameslink route". Retrieved 28 November 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  3. "Passenger services" (PDF). Retrieved 16 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Centre Bus". Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Grant Palmer". Retrieved 16 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Marshalls Coaches". Retrieved 16 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Luton and Dunstable guided busway 'good for economy'". BBC. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Key Facts". London Luton Airport. Retrieved 16 July 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. History "Luton Airport History" Check |url= value (help). Luton Airport Website. Retrieved 16 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Widening of the M1
  11. "Lord McKenzie opens East Luton Corridor".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Roadworks information".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. " Doc3".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Luton's bus station car park set to close this week".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Gateway to the future".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "East of England – Committed schemes". East of England Regional Assembly. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Luton town centre transport scheme". Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 6 July 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Luton Town Centre Transport Scheme – Comparison of Options" (PDF). Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 6 July 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Local Transport Today, Issue 557, Page 7
  20. "Luton Northern Bypass". Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 6 July 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Major Transport Schemes Update" (PDF). Retrieved 5 October 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "North Dunstable and North Luton Consultation" (PDF). Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 6 July 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "All change at 10A?".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Project Progress Information from Luton Borough Council".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>