When it comes to discussing transportation and its infrastructure in Austin, it mostly remained limited to the city itself without focusing on the growing population and corresponding transportation needs in the suburbs. However, the Williamson County Growth Summit held at Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center recently, presented a great opportunity for the leading dignitaries of the region to discuss the growing challenges in the sphere of transportation in Austin and its suburbs. Some of the leading dignitaries that attended the conference included Executive Director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Mike Heiligenstein, founder of RideScout LLC Joseph Kasper, Uber Technologies Inc, Jared Ficklin of Agro Design and the Director of Texas External Affairs, Leandre Johns.
The discussion in the conference was mostly about the need to upgrade the transit infrastructure of the region, and how technology can help achieve it. The discussion went into details as to how technology is making the life of the commuters easy, economical and fast across the globe. It further discussed how some of those technologies could be used in the Austin to accommodate the growing population, ease the traffic, reduce the number of accidents, and help the suburbs to grow and commute across the state and country with ease.
Mike Heiligenstein, CTRMA Executive Director, noted that ridesharing apps and driverless vehicles are the technologies that have the potential to definitively upgrade the transportation infrastructure of the region. However, he went on to add that at the moment, it is more essential to focus on increasing the transportation capacity of the Austin area, which is possible by investing in and building a smarter network of roads across the region. This, Mike said, is the only way to ensure that the transit system in the region is seamless, and is important especially because the population is mostly concentrated in the developing suburbs such as in Williamson and Travis County.
Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is an independent government agency that was formed in 2002, and Mike Heiligenstein has been with the organization since the beginning. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the agency and oversees various ongoing projects and the ones under planning. The main aim of the agency is to oversee the transportation projects in Austin and surrounding areas, especially in the developing countries such as Travis and Willamson. As a government agency formed under Texas Transportation Code Chapter 370, CTRMA can authorize the construction of seaports, airports, roadways and other transit services, and can even issue revenue bonds to raise capital for different state projects.