Transport in Luton

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East Midlands Trains diesel train approaching Luton Parkway station

Luton is less than 50 km (30 miles) north of the centre of London, and has good transport links 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 has a busway. As a Unitary Authority, Luton Borough Council is responsible for local highways and public transport in the Borough.


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.[citation needed]


Luton is served by three railway stations on the Midland Main Line: Luton, Luton Airport Parkway and Leagrave. Thameslink and Great Northern runs the Thameslink route north to Bedford and south to Brighton via central London stations.[citation needed]

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[edit]

Bus services are primarily operated by Arriva the Shires and Essex, Centrebus and Grant Palmer.[3]

Luton to Dunstable Busway[edit]

The Luton to Dunstable guided busway, opened in 2013

The Luton to Dunstable Busway is a guided bus 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.[4]

Luton Airport[edit]

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.[5]


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.[6]

Recent developments[edit]

East Luton Corridor improvements scheme[edit]

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.[7]

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[8] and was completed in Spring 2009.[9] The cost was estimated at £22million in 2003.[10]

Proposed developments[edit]

Luton town centre transport scheme[edit]

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.[11] The development is intended to improve access to the railway station, which will become part of a new rail and bus interchange.[12] Part of the road route is not yet finalised, the two options under consideration are known as the "red route" and the "green route".[13] 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.[14]

Luton Northern Bypass[edit]

A northern bypass has been proposed, between the M1 and the A505,[15] originally expected to be completed by 2016 at a cost of £95 million. At the M1 it would meet the 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.[16]

M1 Junction 10A[edit]

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.[17][18]


  1. ^ First Capital plans[dead link]
  2. ^ Network Rail (18 October 2006). "Map of expanded Thameslink route". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2006. 
  3. ^ "Bus services in Luton" (PDF). 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Luton and Dunstable guided busway 'good for economy'". BBC. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Key Facts". London Luton Airport. Archived from the original on 17 July 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2007. 
  6. ^ History "Luton Airport History" Check |url= value (help). Luton Airport Website. Retrieved 16 June 2008. 
  7. ^ Widening of the M1
  8. ^ "Lord McKenzie opens East Luton Corridor". 
  9. ^ "Roadworks information". 
  10. ^ " Doc3". 
  11. ^ "East of England – Committed schemes". East of England Regional Assembly. 30 January 2009. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "Luton town centre transport scheme". Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 6 July 2009. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Luton Town Centre Transport Scheme – Comparison of Options" (PDF). Luton Borough Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Local Transport Today, Issue 557, Page 7
  15. ^ "Luton Northern Bypass". Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 6 July 2009. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Major Transport Schemes Update" (PDF). Retrieved 5 October 2009. [permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "All change at 10A?". 
  18. ^ "Project Progress Information from Luton Borough Council".