A special summit for discussing challenges that face the transportation sector and people residing in Williamson County was held on December 15, 2016. Previously, summits held in the Austin region concentrated on addressing the challenges that the city itself faces. Various leaders in the transport sector, such as Mike Heiligenstein, the CEO of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Leandre Johns in charge of Texas External Affairs, and ArgoDesign’s founder, Jared Ficklin, graced the event.
For a long time, Jared Ficklin has suggested an aerial gondola system as a solution for traffic issue in Central Texas. The discussion took place at the prestigious Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel.
Heiligenstein appreciated the role of new technologies like driverless vehicles and innovative ridesharing apps in radically improving transportation network, but he stressed on the need for Austin area to invest in expanding its transportation capacity by creating smarter roads. According to him, growing transportation capacity is the most efficient tactic for meeting the mobility needs of the rapidly increasing population.
Tips for dealing with future transportation needs
Alan McGraw noted that transportation demands could change in future and inquired from the panelists about the tactics policymakers could use to meet the transportation demands of the future. In response, Ficklin stated that land-use and building codes must remain flexible. That way, it would be easy to amend them to accommodate changes in construction styles. Mike Heiligenstein suggested the enhancement of road and buses capacity as ways of accommodating new technologies such as driverless cars.
Details on Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein leads the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority as the executive director. The agency was started in 2002 to develop a sophisticated and regional-based network of transport infrastructure for Central Texas. The agency has formulated its current and future projects to address the special mobility demands of the fast-growing Central Texas. Mike is one of the initiators of the Mobile Authority, and he was in charge of the agency’s first project in Williamson County popularly called 183A.
Mike is the current president of the prominent International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. Mike Heiligenstein sits on the governing council of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and other committees that handle transportation issues. Before assuming leadership at the Mobile Authority, he represented the Williamson County’s citizens as a public official for more than two decades.