While it seems most transportation issues, such as roadway, bridge, and mass transportation focus on metropolitan areas, one Texas county believes that the focus should change. William County, a suburban county outside of Austin, Texas, plays host to the 19th annual Williamson County Growth Summit. The summit, sponsored by the Austin Business Journal, addresses the metropolitan region’s growing transportation needs.
A blue-ribbon panel of private enterprise and government authorities, convening at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center, seek to find common ground on how to solve current transportation needs utilizing contemporary technologies. Texas External Affairs Director Le Andre Johns, Ride Scout LLC CEO Joe Kopser, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein and Jared Ficklin of Argo Design spearhead the transportation initiative.
Driverless automobiles and ride sharing apps lead the list of many ideas shared at the conference. In addition to contemporary technologies, a call for new transportation routes tied to smart traffic control systems are key to relieving the congestion and burden the roads endure. Though traffic remains a constant in Austin, the population in the surrounding counties continues to rise.
“Williamson has done such an amazing job of structuring its infrastructure over the past 15 years or so. But you are still going to have more people coming here,” Michael Heiligenstein commented. “Try building those roads. Try expanding those capacities. It’s getting to a point where the corridors we have remaining, we need to make them smarter, more efficient and more technically advanced.”
Argo Design founder, Jared Ficklin stated that lawmakers and urban planners need to emphasize greater land acquisition and building and land code flexibility. While technology is essential, additional capacity warrants greater land acquisition, and contemporary design, which facilitates greater ease of movement. As plans for roadway take hold, so must the need for mass transit for the outlying counties.
As an independent, regional, government agency, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority seeks to enhance the Williamson and Travis County transportation needs. Established in 2002, the authority mission statement focuses on engaging, innovative transportation choices, to elevate the quality of life and stimulate the economic marketplace in Central Texas.
Mike Heiligenstein serves as the Executive Director, with Jeffrey Daily as the Deputy Executive Director. Additional information about the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is available at http://www.mobilityauthority.com.
Follow him @mheiligenstein