In Austin area, most transit discussions have centered on the city itself. Recently, different experts and stakeholders converged at the Williamson County Growth Summit to talk about the transportation challenges facing the suburban communities in the region.
The panel discussion included Leandre Johns, Joseph Kopser, Jared Ficklin and Mike Heiligenstein. During their discussion, these professionals focused on how technology would be employed in enhancing transportation in the region and around the globe. The summit was held at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center.
Mike is executive director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) while Leandre is Uber Technologies’ director of external affairs. Joseph is the founder of RideScout LLC. Ficklin is the founder of ArgoDesign and a designer of transportation-based products. He once proposed for an aerial gondola system to be constructed in Central Austin.
According to Biz Journals, Mike Heiligenstein posits that the use of new technologies such as ridesharing applications and driverless vehicles may help in transforming the transportation infrastructure.
He went on to say that, Austin area needed to invest more in augmenting its transportation capacity by channeling their efforts towards building smarter roads. Mike was optimistic that his recommendations would help in addressing the mobility demands of the rapidly growing population in suburbs like Williamson County.
Round Rock Mayor, Alan McGraw, the panel moderator, asked Ficklin about the policies that should be put in place for future transportation needs. Responding to the question, Ficklin said that policymakers should ensure that land-use and building codes remain flexible.
He added that even with autonomous vehicle, these codes would still be in use. Ficklin posited that in the future, the parking garages would be five feet tall, meaning that they would only be an inch taller than the vehicles.
In addition, the garages would have multiple levels, including a service station on one level and charging stations on the other. This information was originally reported on Austin Business Journal as outlined in this link http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2016/12/15/transit-experts-offer-solutions-for-williamson.html
About Mike Heiligenstein
Since 2003, Mike has been working for Mobility Authority. Over the years, he has seen the corporation grow from being a startup transportation agency to its current position of being a national leader in toll road services.
Under his leadership, CTRMA developed 183A, its first toll road. In addition, the entity enhanced its efficiency by using innovative technologies, such as all-electronic tolling and video billing. The alumnus of the esteemed university of Texas graduated with a degree in Government, an MBA and a Masters of Government.
Presently, he serves on the boards of Tunnel and Turnpike Association, and the Texas Transportation Institute and the International Bridge.
CTRMA has continued to carefully plan and design multi-modal transportation systems to address the mobility needs of the fast-growing region of Central Texas. Recently, the Mobility Authority launched the Manor Expressway project (290 Toll).
Learn more about Mike Heiligenstein: https://communityimpact.com/austin/news/2013/07/15/mike-heiligenstein/