The recently concluded Williamson County Growth Summit provided an excellent opportunity for discussions around transport problems affecting the Austin region. It was a unique event that was different from most transit exchanges that focus on addressing traffic problems around the city.
This event rather emphasized on the region’s transportation problems being addressed the needs of the area’s local populations. The event was held as a panel with a moderator.
The event was held at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference and drew attendance from notable contributors in the region’s transport sector. Among the attendants was Mike Heiligenstein, Joseph Kopser, Leandre Johns and Jared Ficklin. Their discussion was predominantly centered on the effect technology has had in changing the transportation sector in the Austin region and generally around the world.
Heiligenstein noted that technology including ridesharing applications have the capacity to transform the transport infrastructure. However, he also emphasized on the need to invest in the growth of Austin’s transportation capacity. He was aware of the work that has been done in Williamson for the last fifteen years, but with more the people moving in, Heiligenstein stated more still needs to be done.
Ficklin also offered advice to policy formulators on their preparation for transformational needs of the future. He was unequivocal in his thoughts of how future parking garages will be like. According to Ficklin, these garages will be slightly taller than cars by the smallest margin.
This kind of buildings don’t fit in the current laws, and Ficklin advised policymakers to maintain the flexibility of building and other related codes.
The idea of driverless cars was a predominant factor in the discussion and was raised on many occasions. Ficklin was however not optimistic about the issue, and Heiligenstein also repeated his assertion on the importance of growing the transport sector by building more roads and expanding of the current routes.
On his part, Leandre Johns who is Uber Technologies Inc. Texas External Director insisted that ridesharing companies also play a role in transforming the transportation industry. By offering commuters first- and – last mile solutions, John stated that options that lead passengers to get to the bus stop quickly should be pursued.
About Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein is the Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Mike has been with the authority since it was opened in 2002. In his tenure, Heiligenstein has overseen the independent government agency’s completion of various transportation projects. The projects insist on designing a modern transport network around the Central Texas region.
Mike Heiligenstein had served the citizens of Williamson for twenty-three years as a public officer before his appointment to lead the Mobility Authority. He currently sits on some boards that focus on transportation issues.
Learn more about Mike Heiligenstein: https://twitter.com/mheiligenstein