The recently held Williamson County Growth Summit provided a different approach to transit discussions in Austin. While most transit discussions have been about Austin, the Summit gave an opportunity to prioritize the suburban communities of the region. The discussion panel consisted of the executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Mike Heiligenstein as well as the founder of RideScout LLC, Joseph Kosper. The others were Uber Technologies Inc. and Texas External Affairs Director, Leandre Johns. In addition, Jared Ficklin of ArgoDesign was also part of the panel. The Summit focused its discussions on how technology is changing transportation across the globe, particularly in Austin.
Heiligenstein noted that the transportation infrastructure could radically be transformed using new technologies. The technologies comprise driverless vehicles and innovative rider sharing apps. He suggested that the Austin area needed to direct more resources towards growing its transportation capacity by building additional roads. Moreover, he posited about the need to build smarter roads. Mike noted that these strategies would cater to the transportation needs of the growing population in the suburbs like Williamson County.
However, with the growing number of people, additional roads were needed. The capacity of the current roads also needed to be expanded. Mike argued that the corridors needed to be improved.
Alan McGraw laid emphasis on the need for land-use and building codes to remain flexible. McGraw serves as the Round Rock Mayor. He was responding to a question from the panel moderator on what policymakers should do concerning the expected transportation needs of the future. Ficklin discussed about the importance of parking garages and roads, and their future specifications that do not fit into the present building code.
About Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein is the leader of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. He serves as the executive director of the Regional Mobility Authority. This is an independent government agency formed to improve Williamson and Travis Counties’ transportation system. The Authority was created in 2002. Mike has worked for the Authority since it was established. He has overseen the development 183A in Williamson County, the Mobility Authority’s first project. Moreover, Mike is the president of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. Prior to joining the Mobility Authority, he served the citizens of Williamson County for over 20 years as a public official.