Luton DART – Innovative passenger transit system


Luton DART is an innovative automated people mover, connecting Luton Airport Parkway station to London Luton Airport in under 4 minutes. This major local investment by Luton Rising and Luton Council is designed to make travelling by train to our airport muct faster and easier, whilst also supporting the airport’s plans for sustainable growth by tempting passengers away from their cars.
An investment by Luton Rising and Luton-Council in the airport’s success, to replace the bus transfer between Luton Airport Parkway rail station and the terminal and significantly improve the rail passenger experience.Is future-proofed for onward connection to a second terminal if expansion of the airport is consented and help ensure that all future growth at London Luton Airport is green growth.
Supports the airport’s objective to increase public transport modal share from 29 per cent in 2014 to 40 per cent in the longer-term.

Connections to the rail network
• Luton DART seamlessly connects at Luton
Airport Parkway station with direct services from more than 60 stations across the rail network.
• It supports journeys from London St Pancras to London Luton Airport terminal in as little as 32 minutes by the fastest trains on East Midlands Railway’s twice-hourly, non-stop
Luton Airport Express.
•And from around 40 minutes on Thameslink’s frequent services.
Technical details
• A double (ie independent and two-way)-shuttle, cable-hauled, electrically-powered, fully-automated people mover.
The track between its two stations at
Luton DART Parkway and Central Terminal is 2.1km long.
• The journey takes under four minutes, including dwell time – the actual modelled travel time is just over 3 minutes.
•The vehicles are driverless and operate without on-board staff. Operation of the system is supervised at all times by an Operations Controller based in the Control Room at DART Parkway Station.
• Each shuttle can carry up to a maximum of 170 passengers, with 34 of those seated, and including two disabled passenger bays.
•The system can deliver a theoretical maximum capacity of 16 services in each direction at peak times (moving 2,720 persons per hour per direction).
•We will be running at an initial maximum configuration of 14 services per hour (2,380 persons per hour per direction).
• Each shuttle comprises of four cars closely coupled with open gangways.
•Luton Airport Express has tickets for London
St Pancras International to London Luton
Airport from as little as £10 for an adult and £5 for those aged 5-15.
A family of four with two children can travel from London St Pancras International to London Luton Airport from as little as
£48.60 return.
• Adult DART tickets are priced at £4.90 each way, free for under 5s, half-price for children aged 5-15 years.
Luton Residents, after registering with Luton DART will be able to purchase tickets half price. Go to
• All passengers holding a concessionary bus pass, such as pensioners, people with a disability or acting as companion travellers, will be entitled to free travel on the Luton DART after registering. Go to
•Tickets can be purchased from all existing rail ticket sources – including in person at rail stations or online at:
Accessibility has been central to construction and those with disabilities will be able to use the DART independently as much as possible.
Assistance will be available at our stations for those that require it.

Encouraging journeys by rail as opposed to car saves 70 per cent on carbon emissions, according to Government figures.
•Air quality
Since the DART is zero emissions at the point of service, it is projected to remove around 8.5 tonnes of Nitrous Oxide PM10s and PM2.5s from the local environment every year against continuation of the existing shuttle bus service at pre-pandemic movement volumes.
Renewable energy supplies
As part of a new integrated energy strategy for Luton, Luton Rising and Luton Council are looking to secure a future renewable energy supply for the DART, either through direct purchasing and/or bespoke energy production such as solar.
DART pariners
Luton Council
Luton Council is the single shareholder of Luton Rising (the trading name of London Luton Airport
Ltd, LLAL).
Luton Council is working towards a shared 2040 vision in which Luton will be a healthy, fair and sustainable town. where evervone can thrive and no-one has to live in poverty. At its heart are also commitments to make Luton a town built on fairness and social justice, give our children and young people the best start in life by making Luton a child friendly town, and make Luton a carbon neutral town.
Luton Rising
Luton Rising is the business and social enterprise that is owned by a sole shareholder, Luton Council, for community benefit, not private shareholders. Our largest assets are London Luton Airport and the Luton DART. We are proud that we are owners of by far the most socially impactful airport in the country, supporting and improving lives across the communities we serve. We make a major economic contribution to our local region and aim to be one of the greenest airports.
We are tremendously proud of our track record of success and capital investment in the fabric of our local communities. As a direct result of our public ownership, since 1998 we have provided more than £300m to support vital local front-line services, together with an additional £180m for community projects that have transformed the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable people.
This unique community investment programme now has an annual budget of approximately £7.4m, with half funding Active Luton (leisure, community health, wellbeing and library services) and The Culture Trust Luton (arts, cultural and heritage services). About 50 local charities are also supported, including Alzheimer’s Society, Age Concern, Autism Bedfordshire, Luton Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Luton Foodbank, Headway, Luton Women’s Aid, Relate, Stepping Stones, The Prince’s Trust and Victim Support.
London Luton Airport
London Luton Airport (LLA) is one of the UK’s busiest airports, carrying over 13 million passengers in 2022. Pre-pandemic, it reached almost 18 million passengers in 2019.
The airport is operated by a consortium of which the majority shareholder is AENA, the world’s largest airport operator, and AMP Capital, a specialist global investment manager

  • operating under a concession that runs until
  1. Airlines include easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Tui, FlyOne, Sun Express and El Al, flying to more than 140 destinations.
    As Luton’s biggest employer, London Luton Airport plays an integral role in the region’s social and economic success, currently supporting around 27,000 jobs directly and through its supply chain. Pre-pandemic, LLA contributed

almost £3,500 to the UK economy every minute of every day and, at the beginning of 2020, it was adding around £1.1 billion to the regional economy. 53% of LLA’s supply chain spend is with suppliers based within a 25-mile radius of the airport.
Sustainability is a cornerstone of the airport’s vision as it looks to operate and grow responsibly and it has set an ambition to achieve net zero for airport emissions by 2040, ten years ahead of the Government’s target.
Doppelmayr Cable Car
The Luton DART shuttles were designed, built and installed by the Austrian company Doppelmayr Cable Car, based in Wolfurt. DCC will also operate and maintain the shuttles as part of a five-year agreement, which has an option to extend for a further five years.
Doppelmayr Cable Car uses cable propulsion technology in the creation of Automated People
Movers (APMs). London Luton Airport is now the second airport in UK, after Birmingham, to have engaged DCC
DC’s products are suitable for distances up to 6km (3.7 miles), depending on system characteristics, such as the location of stations, alignment, and headway requirements. Typical applications include airports, city centres, amusement parks, inter-modal connections, railway/light rail/metro feeder systems, campuses, resorts, and small downtown network solutions with continuous movement technology.
Luton Airport Express, connected by East Midlands Railway (EMR)
East Midlands Railway (EMR) provides over
450 train services per day, including fast Intercity services between South Yorkshire, the East Midlands, and the iconic London St Pancras International as well as regional services linking towns and cities across England The Luton Airport Express, which forms part of EMR Connect, provides a frequent and convenient service between Corby and London St Pancras International. Services run in both directions every 30 minutes, calling at Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway and London.

The project is entirely funded by Luton Rising.
(There has been no funding from National
Rail or the operator of London Luton Airport).
It may additionally be noted that because Luton Council’s contribution has been for the facility of loans, there is therefore no negative impact on the council’s budget or council tax payers. In fact the arrangement is to the benefit of LBC.
•The project created 500 extra jobs during construction.
• We estimate around 2.5 million employment hours have been worked to completion.
• The CITB (Construction Industry Training
Board) skills hub trained 720 people in essential industry experience, including 40 per cent from under-represented groups.
30 full-time posts were created for local apprentices plus another 50 for graduates and new entrants.

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