According to American-Statesman’s Viewpoint editorial released on September 3, 2015, Austin’s traffic congestion problem needs a technological solution. Mike Heiligenstein from CTRMA agreed with the Statesman editorial saying that Austin, Texas, needs multiple resources to address its traffic woes. He added that Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s mandate is to help resolve some of the region’s key transportation issues.Learn more : https://www.crunchbase.com/person/mike-heiligenstein#/entity
CTRMA was formed to build and provide mobility solutions. The Mobility Authority built several toll roads including 183A in Leander and Cedar Park, U.S 290 connecting Manor and Austin as well as Express Lanes found on MoPac Expressway that serves Austin’s core population. These road projects have not only eased traffic congestion but also helped spur growth in the nearby regions.Learn more : http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/print-edition/2014/01/10/fifteen-minutes-with-mike.html
Mike said that CTRMA was not a privately held company. It is a local Mobility Authority that remains accountable to the counties of Travis and Williamson, which it serves. CTRMA is building MoPac Express Lanes that are designed to help reduce traffic congestion and manage traffic flow in Austin. The lanes will have variable tolling fitted with sophisticated technology. It will enable people to travel to their destinations with ease. However, Mike reiterated that the lanes would not completely reduce traffic congestion.Learn more : http://www.dot.state.tx.us/ttf2009/People/MikeHeiligenstein.htm
Importance of Technology
Mike also added that CTRMA is looking into ways of infusing technological solutions in their future projects making them smart roads. This will require the use of fiber lines embedded along the new 183 South project that the Mobility Authority is constructing between the airport and US 290. Mike anticipates that one day roads and vehicles will be able to talk to each other.
CTRMA partnered with Metropia and created a mobile traffic app that was later integrated with the local traffic monitoring system to provide road users with real-time alternative routes. The Mobility Authority is also working with Carma, which is a carpooling app that encourages ridesharing among commuters.
CTRMA is also encouraging residents to pedal or walk more to reduce congestion in roads. Furthermore, the Mobility Authority started a Highway Emergency Response Operator called HERO that works with Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to provide roadside assistance to motorists free of cost. HERO patrols Interstate 35 and part of US 183.
As the Executive Director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Mike Heiligenstein continues to serve the residents of Williamson and Travis counties since 2003. He has overseen the growth of the Mobility Authority from a startup to a nationally recognized transportation agency and toll road operations leader.