**UPDATE June 21st**
CTRMA and Other Experts Discuss Austin’s Traffic issues
In the Austin area, most transit discussions are centered mainly on the city itself. However, during the annual Williamson County Growth Summit held in mid-December, things were a little bit different. The discussions included transportation challenges faced by the suburban communities of the region.
The panel discussion included RideScout LLC founder Joseph Kopser, Jared Ficklin of ArgoDesign, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein and Leandre Johns of Uber Technologies Inc.
At the event, their discussions focused on the influence of technology on the transportation industry in several parts of the world; including Austin region. Mike Heiligenstein talked about ride-sharing apps and driver-less vehicles. He stated that he believed these new technologies could transform transportation infrastructure.
Heiligenstein also said that Austin area needs to invest heavily in transportation, especially by building more roads. He explained that this would grow the capacity of transportation. According to Heiligenstein, this is the only way to address the mobility needs of a fast growing population. He added that suburbs such as Williamson County would benefit most from this move.
Mike Heiligenstein praised Williamson for having done a great job of developing its infrastructure for more than 15 years. He pointed out that the population of Austin region is growing fast, so it’s important to try and build more roads to expand their capacities. He added that it’s getting to a point where roads need to be smarter, more technologically advanced and more efficient.
The panel moderator, Mayor Alan McGraw, asked Ficklin what policymakers should do to prepare for future transportation needs. Ficklin stressed the land-use and building codes have to remain flexible.
He also commented on parking roads and garages and said that the codes will be essential in expanding these facilities. He further explained that future parking garages will be an inch taller that the cars. They will have many levels equipped with service and charging stations. Ficklin concluded by saying these future adjustments aren’t accommodated in any existing building code.
Heiligenstein agreed with the idea of driver-less automobiles. Nonetheless, he stated that he wasn’t optimistic about autonomous cars. He maintained that the best way to boost transportation is to improve the capacity for buses and roads. Mr. Heiligenstein also predicted a future need for a total of 12 lanes of traffic on State Highway 290 and U.S Highway 183 in Austin.
About Mr. Heiligenstein and CTRMA
The CTRMA is a government agency created to improve transportation in Travis and Williamson counties. The agency’s mission is to create transportation choices and reduce congestion by the implementation of multi-modal transportation.
Mike Heiligenstein is the Executive Director of the CTRMA in Austin, Texas. He has worked at the Mobility Authority since it was started. Over the years he has helped in the development of various projects in Williamson County.
**UPDATE June 5th 2017**
The American-Statesman in the Viewpoints editorial argued that congestion of traffic would increase in Austin hence there was need for the community to come up with a tech solution. Heiligenstein thanked the Statesman for identifying the issue that he termed as a major challenge and concurred there is need to come up with multiple resources to address the traffic challenges as done by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
The governmental private agency builds mobility solutions which entail building of roads among other key infrastructures to ease congestion. One of them is the 183A Toll road within Cedar Park and Leander which changed the communities although there has been an exponential growth to date. The agency also established the U.S. 290 toll road between Manor and Austin expanding the capacity of the old roads and at the same time improving the nontoll lanes utilized before. Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is established by the people of Williamson and Travis counties hence it is not a private company.
The core of the agency’s mission is to innovate. Other ongoing projects entail the MoPac Express Lanes that are built and will incorporate variable tolling that applies sophisticated technology to assist in traffic management. Heiligenstein agrees that congestion in roads cannot be eliminated 100% but there is a great way to deal with the menace. When the systems are upgraded, people will enjoy a reliable commute while variable tolling proportions will synchronize demand and supply to ensure there is a proper prediction of traffic flow. The aim is to make sure the traffic in express lanes moves even as other lanes may be “crawling” during rush hours. Whenever possible, the agent is committed to support technology solutions in all projects to ensure there are smart roads. For instance, fiber lines will be incorporated along the 183 South roads that are under construction between US 290 and the Airport.
Mike Heiligenstein is a man widely known for his precious transportation ideologies. He is a man in love with transportation systems, and this is one of the reasons as to why he is the current head of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA). CTRMA is an independent government agency created in 2002 to help solve the traffic congestion problem that most Texas residents experienced at the time.
With CTRMA being a company dealing with a very vital sector, it needed the best leader to guarantee its success. Thus, Mike was the only best option to fill in the post of executive director since he not only came with newer and better ideas but also had the education and experience background to back him up. Ever since the inauguration of Heiligenstein into CTRMA, he has seen to it that all the firm’s flagships projects have come to a realization. For instance, it is under his leadership that toll collection in Central Texas has been digitized, a move that has seen an increase in revenue collection within the region. It is from these financial proceeds that Mike has been able to initiate other infrastructure projects within Texas, mainly centering on road, airport, seaports and transit systems.
As an experienced leader, Mike Heiligenstein is a staunch advocate for the improvement of non-motorized transport facilities within central Mexico. It is for this reason that he ensures that any new road network within this area integrates these services. With Mike being a leader of a vital docket in Mexico, he has shown tremendous ingenuity by using the newest technology to construct transport infrastructure. It his belief that modern transportation facilities can only keep up with the ever-growing human population provided that engineers consider using advanced technology in their designs.
Under his leadership, Mike plans to see to it that CTRMA constructs modern parking spaces that encourage sustainability. For CTRMA to achieve sustainability, these parking yards ought to be put up in a manner that reduces the vertical headroom, thus creating more vertical room to park many more vehicles. Hence, Mike Heiligenstein is a man who will take CTRMA to greater heights.
About Mike Heiligenstein