The city of Austin is facing traffic challenges for a long time, and recently there was a discussion to address the issues by experts. Though, there were many discussions in the past, what makes the recent one unique is, the panel has included Austin suburbs in the discussion. This means that the experts are well aware of the traffic issues of Austin and they need a comprehensive solution to address it, and that can only be achieved by including suburbs of the city.
The discussion panel included Mike Heiligenstein, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director, RideScout LLC founder Joseph Kopser, Jared Ficklin of ArgoDesign’s and Uber Texas Affairs Director Leandre Johns. The point of discussion was how the technology is transforming the transportation in Austin and around the world. Heiligenstein asserted his view that the city needs better infrastructure including the better road to contain the growing mobility demand of the city. He also stressed that the suburbs such as Williamson County are going through rapid growth and transformation, and need a special address.
“Williamson did some good job in terms of infrastructure for the last decade or so, but still population is growing and hence traffic,” Heiligenstein said. “We need to make smarter and efficient infrastructure and increase the capacity.” Ficklin has stressed out the need of flexible land-use and building codes from policymakers to ensure quick transformation. He said that when the driverless cars being introduced, it needs specific building codes to address his concept of multilevel garages with each level serves different purposes from charging to servicing.
But, Heiligenstein was very cool about driverless and opined that it the transition to the driverless car won’t be easy and mass as expected, and it would need more time than what people think. The focus should be on building the capacity by constructing roads and introducing buses for public transport. Leandre Johns emphasized the need of first and last mile solutions to access public transport in the city and suburbs.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is an independent authority created in 2002 to address the transportations needs of Travis and Williamson counties. It has its own professional staff under Heiligenstein. The governmental body is working to implement innovative mobility solutions to reduce congestions, improve public transport and other future needs. It is entitled to construct various capacity building infrastructures in and around the counties including construction of roadways, seaports, transit services, etc.