It was during the Growth Summit in Williamson County that transport experts gathered to give their opinions on how to ease traffic which is termed as the biggest challenge in the transportation infrastructure of Williamson County. The summit was held at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center. It was an excellent opportunity to highlight the transportation challenges that Williamson County and the suburban communities face. The people who sat on the panel included Jared Ficklin from Argo Designs, Leandre Johns who is the director of external affairs at Uber Technologies Inc. Texas, Joseph Kosper who is the founder of RideScout LLC, and Mike Heiligenstein who is the Executive Director at CTRMA (Central Texas Mobility Authority). The panel discussion centered on the manner in which technology is altering transportation face in the region of Austin and all over the world.
Mike Heiligenstein said that the new technologies like ridesharing apps and driverless vehicles have the potential to change transportation infrastructure. He added that the area of Austin should invest in expanding the transportation capacity of its area by creating roads that are smarter. Mike added that this was the only guaranteed method to solve the mobility demands of a fast growing population of the Williamson County. Mike stated that the county had done an amazing work of changing its infrastructure over the last fifteen years, but more needs to be done since more people will come there soon. He said that the corridors that are remaining would be required to be made more efficient and smarter at some point. Mr. Ficklin said that the future parking garage would comprise of many levels of only 5ft tall and one inch taller than a car. It will have a service station on one of the levels and a charging station on another level.
John from Uber stated that Austin region’s commuters require solutions that will get them off and onto public transit. He added that this is where ridesharing companies like Uber Technologies, Inc. come in. John stated that they could work with Williamson County to form subsidies that assist the transit agency and the rider. Mike Heiligenstein was appointed by the Board to lead CTRMA in 2003. He has worked as an elected official in the Williamson County for over 23 years. He is a former chairman of the Clean Air Force of Texas. He once serves in the Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council. CTRMA was formed in 2002 as an independent government agency so as to come up with a new regional transportation network in Central Texas.