Austin region in Texas has experienced the pressure regarding transport infrastructure just like many other cities in the world. This pressure results from the growing number of people moving to the towns and the changing level of technology that is being incorporated in the transportation industry. People work different shifts and need vehicles to get them to work as need arises.
Companies like Uber have offered their services to supplement the public buses and trains. Roads that were built some decades back are no longer serving the population effectively. Most major highways need expansion to include more lanes. With the coming of autonomous vehicles, even the garages will have to be redesigned.
Stakeholders in the transport and mobility sector met during the 19th year of Austin Business Journal’s annual Williamson County Growth Summit to discuss the solution to the biggest problem that Williamson County has been facing.
According to Crunchbase, among the experts that met include Leander John of Uber Technologies, Mike Heiligenstein of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Jared Ficklin (a transport focused transportation designer) and Joseph Kopser founder of Ride Scout, LLC. There is need to build more efficient infrastructure that is technically reliable.
While the idea and the effect that driverless cars will bring to the transport sector dominated the conversation, Heiligenstein maintained that the roads still need to be improved. In his opinion, the inception of the driverless car will be a long and tedious process. In the meantime, he suggested the expansion of U.S Highway 183 and State Highway 290 in Austin. According to the designer, Ficklin, the land use and building codes need to remain more flexible and open to future changes. With automatic cars, the roads will still be needed in good condition, but the garages will change in design and size.
According to John of Uber Technologies, commuters in Austin area can also enjoy transportation to and from the train stations and bus stops using the first and last mile solutions.
Mike Heiligenstein is a graduate of Texas University who has served for over 25 years in the transport sector. He has a well-established career in infrastructural improvement and development, especially in Central Texas. He is currently the executive director of Central Texas Regional Mobility in Austin.
He has overseen planning activities and nodal planning of transport sector to meet the growing population of Austin County. Mike also serves as the president of International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association.