The Williamson Country Growth Summit was recently held in order to address traffic issues in the suburban areas around Austin, Texas. The panel of transportation experts included Mike Heiligenstein, the Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), transportation product designer Jared Ficklin of ArgoDesign, Leandre Johns who serves as the Texas External Affairs Director for Uber Technologies, Inc., and the founder of RideScout LLC, Joseph Kopser.
The focus of the summit was on how technology is changing the very nature of transportation and how it can help move people around central Texas.
Mike Heiligenstein believes that the best way to address traffic problems in the region is to build additional road capacity and to incorporate smart technologies into the transportation system. In his view technology alone will not solve the problem, and he feels that consumers will not incorporate this technology into their lives as fast as some of the tech supporters say it will.
According to Biz Journal, Mike Heiligenstein went on to say later in the summit that while Williamson county has done a great job over the last 15 years building up its transportation infrastructure there are more and more people moving to the area which stresses the system.
Ficklin made an argument that building codes are going to need to be updated in order to deal with the transportation system of the future. As an example, he said that once there are more autonomous vehicles on the road parking garages will need to built to accommodate them.
In his example, garages levels won’t need to be more than a foot taller than the car, and will need charging stations on one level with a service station on another.
Leandre Johns of Uber said that her company and her competitors can provide first and last mile solutions to the citizens of the area which will encourage them to use mass transit to get most of the way to where they need to be. Learn more about Mike Heiligenstein: http://www.dot.state.tx.us/ttf2009/People/MikeHeiligenstein.htm
Mike Heiligenstein has led the CTRMA since it was started in 2003. His mission at the CTRMA is to improve transportation infrastructure in central Texas including Williamson and Travis counties.
CTRMA is made overseen by a Board of Directors made up of 7 members; 3 are appointed by Travis and Williamson county Commissioners while Heiligenstein’ position is appointed by the Governor of Texas.