Transit experts came together during the Williamson County Growth Summit to offer solutions in traffic. This is the biggest issue in the Williamson County. This summit presented an excellent opportunity to outline challenges faced in transportation and around the requirements of the suburban communities of the region. The members of the panel included Mike Heiligenstein who is the Executive Director of CTRMA, Joseph Kosper who is the founder of RideScout LLC, Leandre Johns who is the External Affairs Director at Uber Technologies Inc. Texas, and Jared Ficklin who works for ArgoDesigns. The summit that took place at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center discussed how technology was involved in the changing transportation face in Austin and all over the world.
Mike Heiligenstein noted that new technologies like ridesharing applications and driverless vehicles had the potential to change the transportation infrastructure drastically. He added that the Austin region should invest in widening the capacity of its transport by constructing additional and smarter roads. Mike stated that this was the only method in which Williamson County could provide the mobility demands of a fast growing population. Mike went on to say that the work that Williamson County had done of structuring its infrastructure in the last 15 years was amazing. More people will be expected to come in. He said that the county should try constructing those particular roads and try to expand the capacities as well. Mike stated that a point would reach where the remaining corridors will have to be made efficient, smarter, and more advanced technically.
Alan McGraw asked Mike who the panel moderator was and what policymakers should do to prepare for the future transportation needs. Ficklin said that land-use and construction codes should remain flexible. Ficklin added that parking garages and roads will still be needed when the county gets autonomous vehicles. He stated that the future parking garage would be five feet tall with multiple levels, a service station on one level, and a charging station on another level. He stated that this does not currently fit into any building codes.
Central Texas Regional Authority (CTRMA) was founded in 2002 to improve the system of transportation in Travis and Williamson Counties. It is an independent government agency. The mission of the agency is to execute inventive, multi-modal solutions in transport that minimize congestion, and come up with transportation choices that improve economic vitality and quality of life.
Mike Heiligenstein has a distinguished career in Central Texas’ infrastructure development. He is the leader of CTRMA. He has also served in the Texas region as a Williamson County Official for 23 years. Mike is an Advisory Council member of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. He holds a Masters Degree in Business and Government Administration which he earned from the University of Texas.
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