A growth summit for Williamson County held on December made a change to the frequent transit discussions that focus on Austin City. This particular summit concentrated on the general transportation challenges facing the region’s suburban communities.
Need to Invest in Transportation Infrastructure
Those who attended the event, which was held at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center were Mike Heiligenstein, the Executive Director for Central Texas Region Mobility Authority. Mike pointed the need for the region to focus on expanding their road network.
According to him, having smarter roads is the only way to meet the mobility demands of a growing population such as Williamson County. Mike also noted that new technologies such as driverless vehicles and ridesharing apps could transform the area’s transportation.
Mike further acknowledge the effort Williamson County has put in expanding their infrastructure for the last 15 years. However, he noted that the county needed to do more such as making the corridors smarter, wider, and more technically advanced. Learn more about Mike Heiligenstein: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeheiligenstein
Focus on Technological Transportation Sector
Jared Ficklin from the Argo Designs was also in the panel where he emphasized on the need to leave land-use codes and buildings flexible even as the county embraces technology. He pointed that garages and parking lots will still be significant even after the new technology is adopted.
He, however, pointed that the new parking will need to be an inch taller than the car and will have multiple levels. Each level will service a particular purpose including a serving station and a charging station.
Adoption of Autonomous Vehicles
The topic on autonomous vehicles came up severally during the summit with Leandre John, the Texas External Affairs Director Uber Technologies Inc. noting that Austin needed a first and last mile solution to get them to the off public transit. He pointed out that ridesharing companies such as Uber fitted in this mold perfectly.
Heiligenstein supported the idea of autonomous vehicles but maintained that the change would be tedious and take a lot of time. He added that the region still needed to give focus on improving the roads as well as increasing the capacity of the roads and buses.
About Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein is the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director, a position he has held since 2003. Prior his current position, Mike was the Williamson County Commissioner for 15 years and later Round Rock City Council for 8 years.
Mike attended Texas University where he achieved a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Government.