The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) is an autonomous state organization established in 2012 to address the transportation challenges in Williamson and Travis counties. The Authority’s mission is to use innovative, multi-modal transportation alternatives that address congestion and develop transportation options that improve the quality of life and economic productivity.
Mike Heiligenstein continues to be the Executive Director of the Authority. He also works at International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association as the group’s President. He is a member of Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Advisory Board. He has served the people of Williamson County for over two decades as a public official.
Williamson County Growth Summit
On December 15, 2016, Williamson County Growth Summit was held to discuss the transportation challenges around Austin. The panelist included Mike Heiligenstein, the Executive Director, CTRMA, Joseph Kopser, the founder of RideScout LLC, Leandre Johns, the Uber Technologies, Inc.’s Texas External Affairs Director, and Jared Ficklin of ArgoDesign. The meeting focused on the role of technology in addressing various transportation challenges.
Heiligenstein noted that Austin needs to build more and better roads to benefit from the various technological innovations like driverless cars and ridesharing apps. Most suburbs in Williamson County are facing rapid growths. He said construction of more and better roads is critical in addressing the transportation challenges in the area as a result of these growths.
Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw wanted to know what policymakers are supposed to do to get ready for future transportation needs. Ficklin said there is a need of having a flexible building and land-use codes to meet future transportation needs. He said parking garages and roads are going to be relevant even with new innovations.
According, to Heiligenstein, the adoption of driverless cars is not high. Consequently, there is a need to enhance the capacity of roads and buses. He also noted that Austin is facing a high rate of growth that will nullify any improvement in transportation. He said Austin’s U.S. Highway 183 and State Highway 290 would need to be upgraded to 12 lanes.
Uber’s Johns emphasized the need for first- and last-mile solutions to encourage public transit. People should be provided with options to get them to the bus stop easily. Companies like Uber are providing individuals with this service.