The Williamson County Growth Summit brought together the leading authorities in the transit industry to solve a growing problem: traffic. Some of the figures who graced the summit are: Mike Heiligenstein, Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority; Leandre Johns, Texas External Affairs Director for Uber Technologies, Inc.; and founder of RideScoutt LLC Joseph Kopser.
The summit’s theme was on the effects of technology on the transportation system in Austin and the world as a whole. However, the panel members did not shy away from addressing the issues plaguing the city’s transportation system.
A Growing City, a Growing Problem
As one of the state’s biggest states, Austin is growing steadily in many aspects. On one hand, the adoption of emerging transport is improving efficiency in the city’s transport industry. For instance, ride sharing apps and driverless cars are positively reshaping the city’s transportation industry. On the other hand, the city’s population is growing steadily and its transport industry is coming under strain.
Mike Heiligenstein proposed that the city should make the remaining corridors more efficient, smarter, and more technically advanced. He also proposed the expansion of existing roads’ traffic capacities. Alan McGraw, Mayor for Round Rock, was also conscious of the traffic issue and was advised to maintain flexibility in land use and building.
Other related infrastructure including parking areas were also discussed. Among the panelists was Jared Ficklin of ArgoDesign, who has repeatedly proposed the construction of an aerial gondola system in Austin. He was particularly vocal about parking lots by proposing smart and space-efficient garages of the future. According to Ficklin, Austin should build parking garages that are only five feet tall with multiple levels. They should also feature charging stations for electric cars and service stations, among other amenities.
About Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein is an outstanding figure in Central Texas’ infrastructure development, and the transport system in particular. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and holds Masters Degrees in Business Administration and Government. He is the Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. He has led the agency since 2003, and under his management the agency seeks to modernize the regional transportation network for Central Texas. He has also grown the agency’s assets from almost zero to a projected $4 billion in 2020.
Mike Heiligenstein has also served Central Texas in many capacities in the past. Some of his past jobs include serving on the Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council, the regional MPO, and chairing the Clean Air Force of Texas.