February 06, 2012

Mark Gorton kicks off “Re-thinking the Automobile” in Delhi

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Mark Gorton, a New York based information technology and finance entrepreneur and a leading advocate of sustainable transportation, began his week-long trip in India, organized by ITDP, with a talk in Delhi on Monday. “Rethinking the Automobile: Lessons from 100 years of Urban Experience with the Automobile”, focuses on the detrimental impact car-oriented urbanization has had on cities, pollution and safety and what can be done to reverse this trend.

The inaugural lecture was held at the Association of Municipalities and Development Authorities (AMDA) in Delhi. BI Singal, Director General of Institute of Urban Transport (IUT), introduced Gorton to the diverse audience, which included transportation experts, researchers and students from Delhi and NCR.

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.”

Gorton also spoke about how parking regulations and policies can be used to discourage automobile use. He noted that “measures like slow speed zones, parking restrictions, and metered parking should be encouraged at the local level to discourage car travel into downtowns.”

Gorton emphasized that India can avoid at the experience of other cities around the world and shift its behavior towards more sustainable transportation. Gorton concluded his talk with a comment on how sustainable transport doesn’t only positively affect the environment, but that a more people-centric design can increase happiness as well.

“A recent study in the US shows that people living on a street with a heavy traffic flow have less social interaction than people living on street with a light traffic flow. Walkable streets and connected neighborhoods facilitate social interaction and overall happiness.”

Over the next week, Mark Gorton will travel to Chennai and Ahmedabad as well as participate in cycle rally in Delhi.

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