In the Austin area, most discussions about transit have centered on the city itself. However, during Williamson County Growth Summit, deliberations zeroed in on the transportation challenges affecting the suburban communities.
In the panel were notable personalities, including Uber Technologies Inc., Joseph Kopser, the founder of RideScout LLC and Mike Heiligenstein, the executive director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. The other people who attended the summit are Jared Ficklin of Argo Design and Leandre Johns, Texas External Affairs Director. Jared is a designer of transport-related products. He is remembered for proposing an aerial gondola system to be installed in Central Austin. Planners of the event decided to host the event at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center. They discussed on the various ways through which technology had changed the transportation system not only in Austin, but also across the world.
Mike posited that new technologies such as ridesharing apps and driverless vehicles have the potential to transform the entire transportation infrastructure. He added that Austin needed to focus on expanding the transportation capacity, especially by building smarter roads. According to Mike, this is a sure way to meet the mobility demands of the ever-growing population. This growth is high in suburbs like the Williamson County. He contended that for more than 15 years, Williamson had done a commendable job of organizing its infrastructure. Mike said that people would continue coming to the urban centers. He advised that building and expansion of roads should continue besides making the corridors to be technically sound, efficient, and smarter.
Ficklin’s response to a question posed by Alan McGraw, Round Rock Mayor and panel moderator, on the future transportation needs, was that land-use and building codes should remain flexible. This information was originally mentioned on Biz Journals as outlined in this link http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2016/12/15/transit-experts-offer-solutions-for-williamson.html
About Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) And Mike Heiligenstein
Founded in 2002, CTRMA has been improving the transportation infrastructure in Travis and Williamson counties. The independent government agency’s mission is to formulate and implement creative transportation strategies. These solutions seek to ease congestion and come up with innovative transportation choices that augment the standards of living and facilitate economic vitality. CTRMA’s board of director consists of seven members. The Governor is mandated with the duty of appointing the chairman. Williamson and Travis counties are allowed to appoint three members each.
Mike has been working for the agency since its inception. He oversaw the success of 183A in Williamson County, which was the entity’s first project. This project was among the first to embrace all-electronic, cashless toll collection. Currently, Mike is the president of the renowned International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. He is an active member of Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s advisory Board.