Most discussions about transport in Austin and its environs mostly dwell on the city. The recently concluded Williamson County Growth Summit gave stakeholders an opportunity to structure the region’s transportation challenges. The seminar’s panel comprised transport experts including Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein, Uber Technologies Inc. Texas Affairs Director Leandre Johns, ArgoDesign’s Jared Ficklin, and Ride Scout LLC founder, Josephy Kopser.
The event was hosted at Sheraton Georgetown Hotel’s conference center. The discussion mainly focused on the role of technology in addressing transportation challenges in Austin and the world in general. While emphasizing that technologies such as ridesharing apps and driverless cars can radically transform transportation, Heiligenstein noted that the city of Austin should make more investments so that its transportation capacity can improve. This may include the construction of technologically-friendly roads. This is the only way that mobility challenges in the city can be countered.
Mr. Heiligenstein’s Contribution
Williamson County was praised for its efforts towards the enhancement of transport infrastructure. The experts similarly emphasized the flexibility of land-use and building codes. The commercialization of self-driven cars is likely to increase demand for smarter roads, something that needs to be considered by the relevant authorities. During the discussion, Heiligenstein expressed that he is yet to be receptive towards the adoption of self-driven cars.
According to Heiligenstein, the city needs to focus more on roads due to the population boom that it has been experiencing in recent years. He predicted that the city’s State Highway 290 and US Highway 183 will need at least 12 lanes in coming years so that massive traffic congestion can be avoided. Ridesharing will also ease transport challenges in the city. Uber perfectly suits into this arrangement.
About Mike Heiligenstein
Mike is the executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. This is an autonomous agency that was established with the aim of improving transportation in the counties of Williamson and Travis. Its mission is to implement forward-looking transportation solutions, which help reduce traffic congestion. Mike is dedicated towards creating mobility choices that enhance economic vitality and quality of life.
Mr. Heiligenstein oversees the agency’s seven-member board of directors. Under his leadership, the authority has created partnerships with other agencies throughout the United States. These include private sector contractors who focus on supporting individual projects. Mike is also the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s president. He sits on the boards of notable organizations including the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
For several years, most summits and transit debates have concentrated on upgrading the Austin City. However, the Williamson County Growth Summit held on December 15, 2016, focused on suggesting solutions for transportation challenges that Citizens of Williamson County face. The panel discussion featured Mike Heiligenstein, the head of the Mobile Authority, Leandre Johns, the CEO of Texas External Affairs, Joseph Kopser, the owner of RideScout LLC, and ArgoDesign’s founder, Jared Ficklin. These leaders based their discussion on how technology is promoting the fast-paced expansion of transportation infrastructure in the Austin City and worldwide.
Heiligenstein stressed the importance of channeling resources towards the expansion of Austin area’s transportation capacity by building more and modern roads. However, he noted that state-of-the-art technologies such as ridesharing applications and driverless cars could take the transportation infrastructure to an entirely new level. He added that Williamson County had excelled in advancing its infrastructure for the past decade.
Allan McGraw, the Round Rock Mayor, acted as a panel moderator. He wanted to know how policymakers could solve the transportation needs of the Central Austin’s people. Ficklin responded by highlighting the need to ensure the land-use, as well as building codes, are flexible. He talked about future roads and garages. He said that the future parking garages would be an inch taller than vehicles. They would contain numerous levels, consisting of charging stations and service stations. Ficklin argued that the design of future garages would not fit into the existing construction regulations.
Details on Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein has spearheaded the development of transportation infrastructure in the whole of Central Texas. He is in charge of the Central Regional Mobility Authority and serves in the position of executive director. The Mobile Authority is a certified and independent government agency whose mission is to upgrade transportation infrastructure for the Central Texas. The Agency opened its doors in 2002 and started official operation in 2003 following the appointment of Mike as its head.
Mike has stayed committed to his mission of changing Central Texas for the better. He has ensured the Citizens of Central Texas are well represented in the government by holding a key office in William County for over 23 years. He has spearheaded the efforts of upgrading transportation infrastructure and expanding water. Mike has led multiple community infrastructure initiatives by serving on several committees such as the Clean Air Force of Texas and the regional MPO.