The recently held Williamson County Growth Conference highlighted problems facing transport around Austin, Texas. The panelists involved in the discussion included Mike Heiligenstein from Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, RideScout LLC’s Joseph Kosper, Jared Ficklin of ArgoDesign’s, and Uber Technologies’ Leandre Johns. The panel’s discussion focused on the evolution of technology and how it affected transportation systems in the Austin area and across the world.
Mike Heiligenstein’s Views on Effects of Technological Advancements
Mike Heiligenstein acknowledged that new technology such as ridesharing apps or driverless vehicles would change transportation infrastructure in the future. However, he commented that the Austin region needed to develop its transport sector through construction of additional roads. According to him, expanding the existing infrastructure in the area was the only way to meet the transportation demands of the growing population in the suburbs of Williamson County.
Mike Heiligenstein also complimented the county on its well-maintained infrastructure. He challenged the panelists to figure out how to accommodate the growing demand of a burgeoning population. Heiligenstein also focused on the need to identify advanced and efficient technologies that would better serve the entire region including the suburbs.
Insights of Jared Ficklin
In response to a panel mediator’s question on the expectations of policymakers about transportation necessities in the future, Jared Fickling stressed on the need for flexibility in building and land-use codes. Ficklin further described the future parking garage, which will have a five feet tall level and will only one inch taller than cars. The parking garage will also have several levels with charging and service stations on different levels.
Mike Heiligenstein is the head of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) in Austin, Texas. Presently, he chairs the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association. Additionally, he also sits on the Board of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Mike served the residents of Williamson County as a civil servant for 23 years before joining the mobility authority.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority
The CTRMA is an autonomous government institution established in 2002. The agency aims to improve transportation network in the counties of Williamson and Travis. The mobility authority recruits a limited specialized staff. It further makes use of private contractors whose skills assist in the provision of staff support. It became operational under the Texas Transportation Code and legally instituted under the nation’s legislation to provide efficient transportation networks in the Austin, Texas, region.