Mark Gorton brings livable streets message to a rapidly motorizing India

“I’m trying to point out to India some of the lessons we’ve learned the hard way in the United States about what automobiles do to cities,” says Gorton.

OpenPlans’ founder Mark Gorton is currently in India, co-sponsored by ITDP, touring and lecturing on the importance of livable streets, civic engagement, and the dangers of autocentric urban planning. See below for a roundup of press about Mark’s visit:

Cautionary U.S. Transportation Tales for India’s Growing Cities – The Atlantic Cities
Mark Gorton is a bona fide transportation evangelist. Founder of OpenPlans, a technology and advocacy organization, and publisher of the multi-city Streetsblog Network, Gorton has a deep interest in urban planning and transportation.

To have an American come and tell you how to make your cities more bike- and pedestrian-friendly might seem a little preposterous. But it actually makes sense; what Gorton can provide to a place like India is first-hand American knowledge of what not to do.

How to be a transportation policy expert in 15 seconds – The Hindu Business Line
“Anything that makes it harder to drive, more expensive to drive, more inconvenient to drive is a good policy. Anything that makes it easier to walk, to cycle or take transit is a good policy. It is that simple. It is all you need to know,” says Gorton, with evangelical zeal as he talks of the need to discourage use of private cars for transportation.

In top gear against the car – The Times of India
New York entrepreneur Mark Gorton, an anti-automobile crusader, is currently in India to spread the message about just how wrong an automobile-based transport system is for the world.  “India has the historical advantage of being able to see the damage that automobiles have done to cities in Europe, America and China. It can decide not to commit the same mistake,” he said.

Mark Gorton kicks off “Re-thinking the Automobile” in Delhi – ITDP
During his talk, Gorton focused specifically on India, commenting that “India is at a turning point in its history – as it develops, it needs focus on how transportation technology can complement other initiatives, like improved mass transit. The decisions made in the next few years will set the course for the next hundred years.”

New York Expert for making cities more vibrant – The Times of India
Chennai’s vehicle population has more than tripled in 10 years and authorities should plan before “horrible things” happen. “The United States lost the plot 100 years ago because automobile companies lobbied to create cities that needed cars,” he said.

“Flyovers ruin planning” – The Hindu
He highlighted how modern technology, including crowd sourcing, GPS tracking and alerts and a variety of open source applications can help citizens participate in urban planning. Flyovers are a terrible idea, he opined, because they would only encourage more people to travel by car. “People of New York have realised their mistake now. Many flyovers are being pulled down because they ruin the planning of a city,”

Campaigner raises pitch for public transport system – Indian Express
Mark cited several studies, one of which showed that human relationships fared better in neighbourhoods with less traffic than in areas with heavy automobile populations — the number of vehicles on the street is inversely proportionate to the number of friends a person has because people mingle better when they have space to move around in the streets of a neighbourhood, he said.

BRTS drives in social change  via Times of India
“Many countries including India followed US model where emphasis is on building more roads, more flyovers and raising capacity of parking lots. In the entire process, we attached more importance to a vehicle than citizens. The time has come now to understand that more vehicles don’t make us happy, our friends do,” said Mark Gorton

Mark’s tour of India was organized by ITDP