Mike Heiliginstein: Improving Transportation in Austin A Project at a Time
The Williamson County Growth Summit was held a week ago. It was organized to facilitate the discussion of the future of transportation in Austin’s suburbs and how to solve the challenges that the city faced. The event took place at the Sheraton Georgetown Hotel. Relevant stakeholders attended to discuss these issues.
The panel comprised of Mike Heiligenstein who is the Executive Director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Leandre Johns who is the Director of Texas External Affairs at Uber, Joseph Kopser who is the founder of RideScout, and Jared Ficklin who is a designer at ArgoDesign. Ficklin had previously suggested the idea of using an aerial gondola in Central Austin. Heiligenstein says that technology would play a significant role in the future of Austin’s transportation system through the inception of self-driving cars and the boom of ride-sharing apps. He added that they could not overlook the fact that more roads had to be constructed to cater for the increasing population in the suburbs.
Building more roads was not enough, but these roads would have to be smarter and technologically enhanced so that they could manage traffic better. Ficklin also brought to the attention of the people present that parking garages of the future would be different and building codes would have to be updated to cater for these edge cases.
The CTRMA (Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority) in Austin, TX is a government agency formed to develop a modern transportation network in the central region of Texas. The authority has the power to implement the construction of airports and seaports in the area. CTRMA can also issue bonds to help raise funds for the various development projects that they undertake. The authority uses private contractors to do the work of building the various projects that they have planned.
Mike is on the board of some transportation organizations such as the Texas A&M Institute as an advisor. He is currently the President of the IBTTA, the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association. Future projects that CTRMA is looking into include setting up expressways in the region. It is working with other transportation entities to see how they can come to fruition.