Part of the problem in the Docklands area pre-gentrification was that there were very poor transport links. Most people used to have to walk to work when the docks were still active, but that would not be acceptable today. So with the gentrification of the Docklands, there had to be sweeping transport changes.
London is famed for it's Underground rail system, taxis and buses, but the Docklands area also has regular bus routes, the London City Airport, and the Docklands Light Railway.
London's newest and quietest airport, London City Airport was developed during the re-gentrification of the Docklands. It has many advantages. It has only a ten minute check-in and check-out time, flights to over 20 countries in Europe (including, France, Belgium and Switzerland), and it is only 6 miles from the City of London.
-London City Airport, in the Royal Albert Dock-
In 1981 a feasibility study for a city airport was commissioned, and trial flights began. In 1987, the first commercial service lifted off form the newly-opened London City Airport. Built to cater for the business traveller, in it's early years it suffered from a lot of competition, but improvements in the runway (increased length) and access to the airport have helped considerably. There are some low-order services within the airport.
The airport was showered with awards last year, and was voted London's Bets Regional Airport in 1997. Also in that year passenger numbers exceeded one million people for the first time.
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) was created when it was realised that if Docklands was to become a new area of commerce and industry it would need an infrastructure to match. A new transport system was needed which would be relatively cheap, no more than £77m, and would access the areas where development would take place. Construction started in 1984, took 3 years to complete, and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 31 July 1987.
Light Rail involves the latest technology. DLR utilises a fully automatic train control (ATC) system which is monitored by the permanently staffed Control Centre located at Poplar. Trains are monitored by a central computer, and Automatic Train Protection (ATP) ensures that DLR is the safest passenger transport system in Britain.
-The Docklands Light Railway-
Compared with conventional trains, there can be more frequent stops, seldom more than 600 metres apart. With segregated tracks, there are no traffic jams, and the service is safe and reliable. It is one of the most environmentally-friendly forms of transport. No fumes damage the environment and vehicles are quiet. Acceleration is smooth and fast, the braking quick and safe and tight turns and steep climbs can be handled with ease. Light Rail is also used in countries such as the USA and Hong Kong.
In the future, there are several line extensions planned for Docklands, due for completion before the new Millennium, with the Lewisham and Jubilee Line extensions planned, to improve access to the Millennium Dome. On completion of the new routes, there will be 36 stations on the Light Railway. The 30-train service carries in excess of 87, 000 people a day - an improvement of 11, 000 compared with 1997. There are only 320 staff for the entire Light Rail network.