Most discussions of the transit persuasion in Austin are focused on the city itself. Recently however, the Williamson County Growth Summit served as an opportunity to discuss transportation challenges that surround not only Austin, but also the area’s suburban communities.
The summit included discussions involving RideScout LLC founder Joseph Kopser, External Affairs Director of Uber Technologies Leandre Johns, ArgoDesign’s Jared Ficklin, and the Executive Director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Mike Heiligenstein. The discussion between all of these pioneers focused on how technology is changing the world around them and changing the transportation industry in particular.
Even though these technologies are happening, they still need to invest in growing Austin’s transportation capacity by building smarter roads, and more of them. The only way to serve the Austin area, in his opinion, is to meet the growing demands of the ever-growing population. Learn more: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/print-edition/2014/01/10/fifteen-minutes-with-mike.html
He knows that the county has done their best to structure transportation, but more and more people are moving to the Austin area. Austin needs to expand their capacities by building smart roads that are more efficient and more advanced. He is also not too keen on investing everything into autonomous vehicles. While it is a possibility, he claims the adoption rate is not that great and they need to improve the area’s capacity for buses and roads in the meantime.
Ficklin, from ArgoDesign, claimed that lawmakers need to be ready for the transportation needs of the future. He emphasized the need of lawmakers to produce flexible building and land codes. Ficklin knows that lawmakers need to leave room for technology. Roads and parking garages need to meet the needs of autonomous vehicles. The future’s parking garage for example, would only need to be 5-feet tall with charging and service stations. Those needs don’t fit into any current building codes.
Johns, from Uber Technologies, also made an emphasis on commuters’ needs. Commuters need first and last-mile solutions to get them to and from public transportation. Ridesharing companies, like Uber, can fit that need very well. He claims companies like Uber can work with the transportation industry to create subsidies that help the transit agency and the area’s people.
The CTRMA is an agency that was created in 2002 to help improve the transportation systems in both Travis and Williamson counties. Their goal is to give citizens innovative transportation solutions that help reduce city congestion and create numerous choices that will help enhance citizens’ lives and the areas’ economic vitality.
Mike Heiligenstein is the Executive Director of the CTRMA. He has served as an elected official of Williamson County for over 23 years and has led efforts in the area to expand the infrastructure transportation, wastewater, and water. He has chaired the Clean Air Force of Texas and has led numerous other community initiatives.