Mike Heiligenstein, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director, is looking for solutions to address the traffic chaos in Williamson County. He was speaking at the event of Williamson County Growth Summit on transportation challenges. The panel included Uber Technologies Inc. Texas Director Leandre Johns, ArgoDesign’s Jared Ficklin, and the founder of RideScout LLC Joseph Kopser. The discussion was focusing on how the technology can change the mode of transportation in Austin and across the world. Further, the summit also paid attention to the future prospects of latest technologies including driverless car and parking solutions.
Regarding the driverless vehicles, Heiligenstein said that it could make a revolution in transportation in future along with ridesharing apps. He further pointed out that Austin needs to invest more to increase the capacity considering the growing demand and should focus on constructing good quality roads. He feels that it is the only way to cope up with the demand especially in the quickly growing suburbs like Williamson County. Williamson has done a great job in case of infrastructure in the last 15 years, but the demand is growing as more people coming there, and it needs more roads and better connectivity. So, the focus should be to expand the capacities; it should be smarter, more technologically advanced, and more efficient.
However, Heiligenstein expressed some concerns regarding driverless vehicles. He said that the adoption rate might not be as expected. It is going to be slow and tedious. The capacity for roads and buses to be improved significantly in a couple of years. The other areas of transport including public transport options, ridesharing, etc., were also been discussed in the summit.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is an independent government agency set up in 2002 to create modern transportation network in Central Texas. Mike Heiligenstein oversees the projects and gives guidance to the agency on various capacity building plans. Under his supervision, the 183A project in Williamson County was completed. It was one of the first projects in the country with cashless toll collection. The governmental organization has already planned six other express highways in Central Texas and collaborating with agencies on its plans and executions.
Heiligenstein is also serving International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association as the President. He is the member of Texas A&M Transportation Institute advisory board and several other working groups and committees that are working to improve the total transport system. His 23 years of service as a public official in Williamson County helped him to understand the issues better while assuming the role of Mobility Authority.