While rapid population growth has immense merits, it also comes with daunting challenges that makes people’s lives cumbersome. In the cities like Austin where visitors check in regularly and individuals settle daily, transport cannot be compromised. Most transport discussions in the city have been largely focused on the city Center. However, recent developments have necessitated change in suburban communities because transportation problems seem to be worse.


Last year’s Williamson County Growth Summit saw several relevant figures in the transport sector in Austin discuss numerous panacea options to this transportation dilemma. The summit presented a rare opportunity to frame transportation challenges faced by the region’s suburban communities. The summit’s panel included Mr. Mike Heiligenstein, Joseph Kosper, Leandre Johns and Jared Fickle.


Mr. Heiligenstein appreciated how the emergence of new technologies such as driverless cars and ridesharing apps can be a driving force to transform transportation infrastructure. Yet still according to Heiligestein’s view, Austin City is growing faster, and to meet the demand for transportation services, then the city needs to invest in accommodative roads. His view perfectly resonates with the rapidly growing population in suburbs like Williamson, which in response requires smooth mobility arrangements and systems. In as much as Williamson has striven enough to structure its infrastructure over the past 15 years, Heiligenstein anticipates huge influx of people in the region that will pose a lot of inadequacy and problems to the current transport system. The best option is to expand the road capacities, build more accommodating ones and make them smarter, viably efficient and more technically advanced.


Heiligenstein seems not to welcome the idea of autonomous cars. He raises concerns that the adoption rate of these cars might no match the expected standards and, as such, driverless cars are not the solution to the transport problems. As a matter of fact, the anticipated growth rate in Austin city might not influence any improvement in the transportation system apart from mass transit. Thus, roads are to be improved and expanded to accommodate more public buses and to create more room for private vehicles.


About Mike Heiligenstein

Mike Heiligenstein is the Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority in Austin, Texas. The Authority is an independent government agency tasked with designing a modern, regional transport network for central Texas. He is also the president of the International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association. His views have greatly influenced the way transportation networks operate in the country.

Learn more: https://communityimpact.com/austin/news/2013/07/15/mike-heiligenstein/