The Williamson County Growth Summit was held last month at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel. The panel comprised of several stakeholders in the transportation industry in Austin including Mike Heiligenstein who is the executive director of CTRMA, Joseph Kopser who is the founder of RideScout LLC, and Leandre Johns who is the external affairs director of Uber Technologies in Texas.


Heiligenstein called for the development of more roads in preparation for the population increase that would occur in the suburbs. He added that the transportation infrastructure would need to include smarter roads that would improve the driving experience for motorists. He said that it was still important to cater for the current needs of residents even though new technologies would define the future. He adds that the adoption of autonomous cars was still slow, and it was important that they develop systems in place.


Jared Ficklin is a product designer at ArgoDesign. He noted that policymakers also had a huge role to play in the transition to adopting self-driving cars. This is because the parking garages of the future were not accommodated in the building and parking codes. Mike Heiligenstein has served as the executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority since it was started in 2002. He worked as a public official in Williamson County for more than 20 years before joining CTRMA. Mike Heiligenstein is a member of the boards of various organizations that deal with transportation including the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Mike is also the President of the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association.


The Central Texas Mobility was started to improve the transportation infrastructure of Williamson and Travis counties in Austin. The authority collaborates with competent private contractors to develop the various projects. The authority is authorized to use bonds to raise funds for projects and uses taxes and fees to repay the bonds. CTRMA is responsible for developing the 183A in Williamson County which was one of the first projects in the nation to incorporate a cashless toll collection system. CTRMA partnered with Metropia to create an app that recommends alternative routes to motorists. The app is integrated with the traffic system and analyzes data to suggest routes that are less congested.


They also partnered with Carma to encourage more residents to share rides. Carma is a carpooling app. This is because it is estimated that there are close to 900,000 empty seats in cars in the area each day. The authority realized that filling these seats could reduce the number of cars on the road.