The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) is focusing its reach from the entire city of Austin, Texas to the problems facing the region’s suburbs. CTRMA Executive Director, Mike Heiligenstein, met with a number of other authorities of the transportation industry at the Williamson County Growth Summit to discuss the future implications of advancing technology on transportation. Leaders from RideScout, Uber, Texas External Affairs, and ArgoDesign were some of the groups present at the event.
Heiligenstein noted that new technologies such as driverless cars and ridesharing applications have potential to rapidly transform the transportation industry. He highlighted the need for investments towards transportation infrastructure particularly the need for increased capacity and smarter roads. He pointed out that while the number of roads has been increased, efficiency and technology of those roads must be addressed. Heiligenstein added that these advances should be focused on the suburban communities as this is where growth is highest.
Mr. Heiligenstein continued by addressing policy makers noting they must keep building and land codes flexible so that transportation infrastructure is able to adapt to future requirements. These features have not been accounted for in current law and must be considered for the future. Mr. Heilignstein ended his remarks explaining that while future advances will need to be planned for, he does not expect the adoption rate to be very high at first, allowing some time to for policymakers to react.
Created in 2002 as an independent government agency CTRMA, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, was designed to improve transportation infrastructure in Williamson and Travis counties of Texas. The agency is focused on innovation, multi-modal solutions for transportation, reducing congestion, and improving the overall quality of life of citizens.
CTRMA is led by seven individuals who form the Board of Directors. Mike Heiligenstein serves as Executive Director in charge of a team of CTRMA professionals and an even larger base of private contractors. The agency operates under Chapter 370 of the Texas Transportation Code and has authority to implement a number of changes to the transportation system including roads, airports, and other transit services. CTRMA issues revenue bonds in order to fund projects and operations, and is authorized to issue user fees to repay these bonds.