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13Jan/17Off

CTRMA: Improving Transportation In Austin Since 2002

Williamson County Growth Summit was held a few months ago at the Sheraton Texas Hotel. The main agenda was on the transportation challenges that the suburbs in the area would face in the future. The panel comprised of various stakeholders in the region’s transportation system including Leandre Johns, external affairs director for Uber, Mike Heiligenstein, Executive Director of CTRMA, Joseph Kopser, the founder of RideScout, and Jared Ficklin from ArgoDesign.

 

Heiligenstein noted that technology would eventually play a significant role in the future especially with the inception of autonomous cars and carpooling apps. He said that the current infrastructure could not handle the growing population in the area. There was a need for more roads. He also said roads needed to be smarter so that they could offer a better experience to drivers. Ficklin also pointed out that the current land and building codes in the area would have to be updated to facilitate the setting up of parking spaces. This is because autonomous vehicles would not need a lot of parking space and the current codes do not accommodate this.

 

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority was founded in 2002. Heiligenstein has served as its Executive Director since it was started. CTRMA has been tasked to develop efficient transportation systems in the area which include seaports and roads.

 

There are close to a million empty seats on cars every day according to data. The authority realized that they would have to fill these positions to decongest the roads. They partnered with Carma, a carpooling app which will help people to share rides. They are also working on an app that will recommend alternative routes to drivers based on traffic data.

 

The Urban Mobility Scorecard suggested that people should be encouraged to use alternative means of transport such as walking and cycling. That is why CTRMA has set up dedicated pathways for cyclists and pedestrians alongside the projects that they have established. One of the principal causes of traffic on the roads is vehicles that have minor breakdowns. This is why CTRMA started HERO. This is a service that provides assistance to motorists who have minor issues with their cars. CTRMA is focused on developing smart roads. They are already adding fiber cables to a few roads such as the 183 South Project.

 

Mike Heiligenstein worked at Williamson County for two decades as a public official before joining CTRMA. He is the president of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, and a member of the board of some transportation committees.

 

 

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