The problems facing the residents and visitors to Austin, Texas often revolve around the problem of traffic issues that are often seen as a major source of tension between city planners and officials, and the residents of one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. At the recent Williamson County Growth Summit representatives of ride sharing app providers, infrastructure design specialists, and the Central Texas Regional Mobile Authority Executive Director, Mike Heiligenstein discussed the many different possibilities facing the Austin area when it comes to creating a plan for the future of the road system.
One of the major areas of discussion for those attending the Summit was the arrival of driverless cars and a need to address the issues these new forms of transport will provide for the future; Mike Heiligenstein believes that although it is important to plan for a future including cars without drivers the issue is not one that requires immediate action as the take up on these options has been far lower than originally anticipated.
Heiligenstein himself has been a major supporter of the many different types of technology that can be integrated into the road and public transport infrastructure as part of the overall plan of the Central Texas Regional Mobile Authority; in recent years the use of fiber optic cabling has been approved in various road construction plans that will allow cars of the future to interact with the road surface itself for safety reasons. For Heiligenstein the use of technology will grow ever more important in traffic congestion issues in the future and points to the Metropia app that already provides travelers on roads controlled by the Central Texas Mobile Authority with alternate routes to avoid congestion problems.
At the Williamson County Growth Summit, the subject of how to handle driverless cars was discussed with Mike Heiligenstein explaining new building codes would need to be created to allow smaller parking garages to be constructed that include service stations and charging centers. Despite the acknowledgment of the issues of the future Heiligenstein explained travelers in Austin were currently concerned with improvements being made to roads and gaining greater access to affordable public transport options; representatives of carpooling and ride sharing apps also explained the importance their companies would have as the providers of transport options to convey passengers to their nearest public transport hub.