On September 15, 2015, Mike Heiligenstein wrote to respond to an article by the American-Statesman, which argued that tech solutions were needed to address traffic congestion problems in Austin.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s chair acknowledged that traffic problems in the area would only be reduced through the deployment of multiple resources. He went ahead to reiterate that the mobility authority’s primary role and focus were to innovate and implement mobility solutions.
Toll Roads and MoPac Express Lanes
Mike highlighted several roads that the agency had built such as 183A Toll Road and the U.S 290 toll. According to him, the two toll roads had managed to cut congestion in the non-toll roads by up to three times.
On top of that, he noted that the mobility authority was in the process of building MoPac Express Lanes that would employ state-of-the-art technology for toll collection. These lanes, according to Mike, would significantly reduce heavy traffic in Austin.
Their tolling rates would be dependent on the demand and supply, which means that the number of motorists using the lanes would easily be regulated. For individuals rushing to catch flights, to job interviews, or to attend to any other urgent issue, will benefit from these lanes during rush hours.
Of whether there was a possibility of eradicating congestion fully, he argued that that would be a far-fetched target which wasn’t easy to reach. To Mike, his agency was all about keeping congestion problems in check not to eradicate them.
Smart Roads and Mobile Traffic Control Apps
According to Crunchbase, Mike Heiligenstein emphasized on the necessity of building smart roads. He gave an example of the 183 South project that they were planning to fix fiber lines in line with their future strategic plan of having roads with the ability to communicate.
Another technological advancement by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority was the launching of a mobile traffic app. Mike noted that through the app, the authority was able to reduce traffic congestion significantly by diverting commuters to less congested routes.
He noted that there was another app that encouraged carpooling as a way of addressing congestion. The concept is simple; if one car is enough to carry five passengers, then there is no need of having five different vehicles on the road, each carrying a single passenger.
More about Mike
Being the first boss of CTRMA, Mike has achieved a lot in that position and has managed to set the pace for the future. In total, Mike Heiligenstein has been in the public service for the last four decades.