Traffic congestion has been a challenge around the world for decades. However, Williamson County is taking the issue seriously by employing technology to solve the transport crisis. Transit experts have met during the Williamson County Growth Summit to discuss the different ways in, which traffic congestion can be wiped out. The focus has not been on the city alone but also the suburb communities. The summit meeting was held at Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center. The theme of the meeting was to discuss how the transport sector is changing in the age of rising technology globally and more specifically in Austin region.
In attendance was Mike Heiligestein who works as the Executive Director of Central Texas Regional Mobility and Joseph Kopser who is the founder of RideScout LLC. Other transit experts who attended the summit include Leandre Johns who is the Texas External Affairs Director at Uber Technologies and Jared Ficklin, who works as the transport-focused product designer with a company called ArgoDesign. Heiligenstein indicated that technology could change the transport sector with the emergence of applications like ridesharing and driverless cars. He also added that Austin needed more investment in terms of infrastructure due to the growing population. Ficklin emphasized that there was need to develop roads and parking garages. This is because even with the emergence of technology, still a smart road is a basic requirement.
Mike Heiligestein Changing Transport
Mike Heiligestein has been serving Williamson County for over 23 years. Today, he serves in the Central Texas Mobility Authority as the Executive Director. This is an agency created in 2002 with an aim of solving the transport crisis. The growing needs prompted the government to come up with an independent agency that would formulate solutions for the transport sector. Due to the fast growth being experienced in the region, there was need to develop reliable and long lasting solutions.
Mike has been on the team working to develop transport solutions since the agency was introduced. The first project was labeled 183A, which was based in Williamson County with an aim of transforming the toll collection to an electronic or cashless system. Previously, it launched the 290 Toll project. It is also currently working on the Express Lane. Over the years, Mike has been serving at the International Bridge, Turnpike and Tunnel Association. He is also in the Texas A&M Transport Institute as part of the advisory board. He is also engaged with other different groups to help solve the transport crisis.