Williamson County had a panel discussion at their 19th annual Growth Summit to discuss an incredibly important issue in the area, that of transportation challenges. The panel included representatives from both the public and private sector, including Mike Heiligenstein, chairman of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. The discussion was focused strongly on new transportation and mobility options that have been opened up by new technologies.
Heiligenstein and the Mobility Authority are responsible for transportation solutions in Williamson County, which would include the growing road system. Heilingenstein thus has several opinions about transit technologies, as well as the infrastructure of the past. He praised the last fifteen years of infrastructure growth by Williamson County, but pointed out that there is still massive population growth, requiring a continued investment in infrastructure.
Heilingenstein, while being a fan of the new technologies discussed in the panel, sees them as only part of the solution. With more people coming to the suburbs in Williamson County, the traffic infrastructure as a whole needs to be improved. He has a strong desire for more and smarter roads to handle the traffic coming into newly-developed areas.
One of the other panel members, a transportation-focused product designer, was a fan of autonomous cars, but pointed out that even with that new technology, the road infrastructure will be needed, as the cars will still need roads and driveways even if they are automatically controlled. Another point made was by an Uber represenative, which is that even with public transportation, commuters need the solutions from their home to the public transportation and back.
Overall, new technologies are seen by the panel as enhancements to the current system, rather than a silver bullet fixing all transportation woes. While technology will surely be a consideration as Williamson County increases its transportation infrastructure, traditional methods will still play a major role. More roads, smart roads will be part of the scene in Williamson County for a long time to come.