The Williamson County Growth Summit gave an opportunity for framing a number of transportation challenges that were focused on the varying needs of the suburban communities of this region.
The panel discussion was having all who mattered and who were focused on the issues at hand. Hence there was the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein who gave a lot of inputs. Next was RideScout LLC founder Joseph Kopser. Another important panelist was Uber Technologies Inc. Texas External Affairs Director Leandre Johns.
A prominent panelist was ArgoDesign’s Jared Ficklin who has been proposing some innovative solutions for Central Austin, namely the aerial gondola system. This was a special event that was held at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center.
Learn more about Mike Heiligenstein: http://ibtta.org/sites/default/files/documents/Heiligenstein_Mike_formatted%20with%20Picture_2014.pdf
Mike Heiligenstein had a lot to discuss and comment on. He spoke about new technologies that included driverless vehicles, ridesharing apps and so much more. It is obvious that such technological innovations are going to radically transform the infrastructure of transportation.
The Austin area has very good infrastructure, but they still have to invest more as they have to grow the transportation capacity. This is because more and more people are coming to the suburbs, which includes Williamson County.
Even the policymakers have to help in this preparation for these transportation needs for the future. This would require flexibility in terms of a building as well as land-use codes. With autonomous vehicles coming in, a lot of such stuff would be required. This would include parking garages as well as roads. These will have to be parking garages of the future with low heights and with multiple levels.
There can be charging stations on a level while a service station on some other. The concept of driverless cars was also discussed here.
Mike Heiligenstein stated that he was not very optimistic about autonomous vehicles as he felt that it would take some time before people start accepting them. Meanwhile, it is vital to enhance the capacity of our roads as well as buses.
This is because even the increased usage of mass transit will not be enough considering the massive rise in population that is expected in this area.