The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) has big plans for texas roadways. In the Williamson County Growth Summit conference that took place earlier this month, the Mobility Authority Executive Director, Mike Heiligenstein proposed plans to help with traffic issues while keeping in mind the roadways of the future. Heiligenstein has been involved with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority since its founding in 2002. As an independent government agency, the Mobility Authority’s mission is to,” implement innovative, multi-modal transportation solutions that reduce congestion and create transportation choices that enhance quality of life and economic vitality”. Heiligenstein is no stranger to public office and knows how to think in an innovative way to address the issues of Williamson County and surrounding traffic issues in Austin. He directed projects such as 183A in Williamson County, 290 Toll (Manor Expressway) and Express Lanes on MoPac (Loop 1), this proves that he has the experience to take projects to the next level when planning for the future.
At the conference this month, Heiligenstein acknowledged the need for technology to help with traffic issues, but he mostly emphasized the need to increase the capacity with new roads and expanding existing roads with more lanes. Some other points that were brought up by Round Rock Mayor, Alan McGraw was the need for parking decks for self driving cars in the near future. It was proposed to be designed with one level just for charging stations and another level with a service station. The idea of “smart roads” is to be able to communication with self driving vehicles and advert potential dangerous situations, for example, in the event that a vehicle is traveling in the wrong direction or other situations of the like then cables within the road will be able to detect and communicate the error. Heiligenstein acknowledged the future of autonomous cars, however he is not so inclined to start projects to accommodate them as of yet. He was adamant that increasing capacity will alleviate traffic congestion and concerns for the present.
Moreso, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and other programs have already been working on strategies to help the traffic issues in Austin. One strategy is to help find convenient ways to carpool.By using technology, commuters will be able to communicate and share rides back and forth from work to be able to cut down on the amount of cars contributing to the traffic issues in Austin. Projects that are going on now will include biking paths and bridges as well as pedestrian paths and bridges to encourage alternative and safe means of transportation. To take things a step further the Mobility Authority has already implemented free roadside assistance, called Highway Emergency Response Operator to quickly reply and fix minor mechanical issues that may cause congestion.
All in all, the Mobility Authority is working with several committees and programs to make decision and help with the current traffic congestion in Austin with the future in mind.
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