Transport experts came together during the 18th Williamson County Growth Summit so as to offer their views on how to combat traffic which is said to be the biggest challenge in the Austin region. The Summit saw people come together at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center. The experts who represented the panel discussion included Leandre Johns who is External Affairs at the Uber Technologies Inc, Mike Heiligenstein who is the Executive Director at the CTRMA, Jared Ficklin who is the product designer at ArgoDesigns, and Joseph Kosper who is the Founder of the RideScout LLC. The experts also discussed the role that technology has played in transportation in Austin and across the world.
Mike Heiligenstein noted that innovative technologies like vehicles without drivers and applications for sharing rides could convert the face of transportation. Mike said that there is a significant need for the Austin region to invest in developing its capacity for transportation by creating more and smarter roads. Mike added that this is the one and only method that will ensure the mobility demands of the fast expanding population are served. He commented on the amazing work done by the county of structuring the infrastructure in the last 15 years and said that there is still more to be done since more people will be coming in.
Jared Ficklin said that the policymakers should ensure that land-use and building codes remain flexible in preparation for the future transportation needs. He added that there would be a need for this when there is the introduction of autonomous vehicles. Ficklin talked about the future’s parking garage and stated that it would be built differently from the current parking garage. He said that the parking garage would have many levels with different levels having a charging station and service station. Leandre Johns from Uber Technologies stated that ridesharing firms like Uber would significantly change the face of transportation in Williamson County.
The CTRMA was created in 2002 as an independent government agency so as to improve the system of transportation in Williamson County. The agency is committed to implementing new solutions that minimize congestion and form transportation choices that enhance life quality and also economy vitality. Mike Heiligenstein is the CTRMA’s Executive Director. He has served the people of Central Texas for more than 23 years. He is a member of the WTS Heart of Texas Chapter Advisory Board. Mike offers his advice on transportation in Texas and also nationally. He has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Government which he earned from the University of Texas.