Although most discussions on transit in Austin are mainly on issues affecting the city, on Thursday, the Williamson County Growth Summit provided an opportunity to discuss transport challenges facing the region’s suburban population. Some of the panel members included Mike Heiligenstein, Executive Director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Joseph Kosper, founder of RideScout LLC, and Jared Ficklin of ArgoDesign. The event was convened at Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center. The discussion covered the ways in which technology was affecting the transportation sector in Austin and the rest of the world.
Heiligenstein Views on Transport and Technology
During the summit, Heiligenstein noted that new forms of technology like ridesharing apps and driverless vehicles were destined to totally change the transportation infrastructure. Heiligenstein added that despite this fact, Austin should pour more investment into its transportation capacity especially by constructing smarter roads. He reiterated that this was the only means of satisfying the mobility demands of an increasing population. He particularly spoke of Williamson County saying that they had an amazing track record of improving its infrastructure in the last 15 years. However, he observed that since there will be more traffic to the county, the officials in the transport ministry were supposed to continued building roads and expanding their capacities. Heiligenstein’s view was that there is going to reach a time when even the corridors remaining will need to be more technically advanced, efficient, and smarter.
About Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein is executive director at the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority based in Texas. This independent government firm was established in 2002 for the purpose of designing a modern and regional transport network to service Central Texas. Mobility Authority’s projects are meticulously planned transportation systems aimed at satisfying the diverse mobility demands in a rapidly growing region. Heiligenstein has worked with Mobility Authority from the time of its establishment and was part of the team that supervised its first project in Williamson County dubbed, 183A. This was among the first projects in Williamson County to transition to an all cashless and electronic toll collection. Mobility Authority recently another project dubbed the 290 Toll project and is working on Express Lanes.
Mike is currently the head of International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association. He is also in Texas A & M Transportation Institute’s advisory board, as well as other working groups and committees that deal with transportation matters. Before heading the Mobility Authority, Heiligenstein was a public official in Williamson County, a position he held for 23 years.