Transport is a major challenge in most cities. Williamson County is among areas that experience numerous traffic challenges. Recently, stakeholders and transport gurus held a seminar to discuss challenges that face the county’s suburban communities. The panel’s discussion also centered on how transport infrastructure can be upgraded to cater for emerging technologies. There is great hope that the deliberations made will ease the county’s traffic challenges.
The seminar’s panel of experts included Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein, transport systems designer, Jared Ficklin, RideScout LLC founder Joseph Kopser, and Uber Technologies Inc. Texas External Affairs Director Leandre Johns. The seminar was hosted at Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center. Besides Williamson County, the discussions also roped in transport challenges in major metropolises across the globe.
During the meeting, Heiligenstein emphasized the role that emerging technologies can play in the transformation of transport infrastructure and mobility in general. He also pointed out that Austin has been making notable investments in its transportation system but there is still room for improvement. Furthermore, there is need to build smarter roads and increase the capacity of the existing ones so that the dynamic challenges can be addressed once and for all.
Ficklin was quick to point out that the flexibility of the city’s building and land-use codes ought to be maintained since it is in harmony with the emerging technologies. There was general optimism about the introduction of driverless cars. Nonetheless, the improvement of Austin’s road capacity was a key discussion topic due to the remarkable growth rate that is currently being experienced. It is important for Austin residents to be provided with first and last-mile transport solutions that can enable them travel with ease.
Mike Heiligenstein in Brief
Mike is the current head of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. This position outs him in charge of transport facilities in Central Texas and its suburbs. The agency was formed in 2002 with the aim of designing modern transportation networks that would ease mobility challenges in the area. Under Mike’s headship, the agency has been lauded for completing intricate projects including 183A in Williamson County.
The authority is currently in the process of forming partnerships that will enable it build more multi-modal transport systems that meet the needs of the fast-growing region. Besides his role at the agency, Mike serves on Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s board. The career public servant also heads the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.