It was during the 19th edition of the annual Williamson County Growth Summit that transit experts convened to offer their insights on traffic which is the biggest challenge facing the county of Williamson. Those present in the Summit included Mike Heiligenstein who heads the CTRMA (Central Regional Mobility Authority), Jared Ficklin who works at ArgoDesigns, Joseph Kosper of RideScout LLC, and Leandre Johns who serves as the External Affairs Director at the Uber Technologies Inc. in Texas. This Summit was an excellent opportunity to discuss the transport challenges that are faced by the Austin’s region and how the use of technology has changed the transportation face in the area.
The Growth Summit took place at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center. Mike stated that the issue of modern technologies like apps for ridesharing and vehicles that are driverless could significantly change the transportation infrastructure. He added that it is important that Austin’s region invests more in expanding its transportation capacity by constructing more roads that are also smarter. Mike stated that the region would be serving the mobility demands of its fast expanding population in which majority of its growth is based in the suburbs. He also congratulated the Williamson County for its excellent work in structuring the infrastructure and added that more still needs to be done.
Mr. Ficklin talked about the future parking garage and said that it would be different from the current one. The parking garage will have levels that are just 5ft tall with multiple levels and a charging and service station and different levels. He added that this does not fit in the current building codes and that adjustments need to be done. Leandre Johns from Uber said that commuters in the county require first and last mile solutions that will get them on and off public transit.
Mike Heiligenstein has been serving as the Executive Director at CTRMA since 2003. His career is focused on the development of infrastructure in the region of Central Texas. Mike was appointed as the President of the IBTTA (International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association) in 2014. He serves as a member of the Texas A&M transport Institute Advisory Council. Mike is a graduate of the University of Texas. He has a Master’s degree in Government and Business Administration. He is a member of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Texas Technology Task Force.