Mike Heiligenstein: Role of CTRMA and Technology in Traffic Management in Central Texas
In 2015, Mike Heiligenstein was of the opinion that traffic congestion was expected to increase in Austin, Texas. He, therefore, suggested that a tech solution would suffice to alleviate the problem. Mr. Heiligenstein added that the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority CTRMA acknowledged that at times the problem might be due to a road issue while at other times roads may not be the issue.
Accomplishments of CTRMA
Delving into what the Mobility Authority had done so far, he indicated that the authority had build 183A Toll Road in Leander and Cedar Park. CTRMA had also developed the United States’ 290 toll road that connects Austin and Manor. Both these roads had eased congestion in the areas they served and also increased their capacities.
In response to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s “2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard,” the authority was providing pedestrian and bicycle paths wherever possible to encourage more people to walk and cycle. To reduce congestion whenever caused by a car breakdown, the Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) program would be involved in the provision of free roadside assistance to help motorists with minor car problems.
Technology and Traffic Management
Given that innovation is at the heart of the Mobility Authority, Mr. Heiligenstein indicated that the MoPac Express Lanes undertaken by CTRMA would incorporate technology for the management of traffic flow. This forward thinking was attributed to anticipation of traffic management developments in future when vehicles may be able to communicate with road infrastructure such as noticing that another vehicle was driving in the wrong direction. Working into this future, the Mobility Authority partnered with Metropia to create a mobile app that would provide commuters with real-time alternative routes whenever there was traffic snarl up. CTRMA had also partnered with Carma, a carpooling app, to encourage ride sharing.
About Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein has spent his career working in the public sector. He graduated from the University of Texas with degrees in government, masters of government and an MBA. Before taking up his role as the executive director of the CTRMA, he worked in the Round Rock City Council as a member and also served as a Williamson County Commissioner. He has always directed his efforts towards infrastructure programs. Since taking up his role at the CTRMA in 2003, he has overseen the growth of the Mobility Authority into a nationally acclaimed leader in toll road operations. Under his leadership, the Mobility Authority built its first toll road 183A and introduced video billing and all-electronic tolling. Mr. Heiligenstein also sits on the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association and the Texas Transportation Institute boards.
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