Automatic cars have become big news and they are still somewhat controversial. While the potential upside of these cars is huge, they don’t seem to be quite at the best operating level. To address these needs, the Mobile Authority of Williamson and Travis Counties met to discuss how best to implement these changes in the future.
Who Are The Mobile Authority?
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is a group that was started in 2002 to help manage transportation systems in various counties. They are an completely independent group that works as an advisory board and investigatory group to help find solutions for difficult traffic situations in the state.
Since their formation, they have been led by Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein. He works with the board of specialized traffic directors to find innovative solutions and unique ways of implementing them that will not only improve the traffic situation, but which won’t cost tax payers excessive amounts of money. The idea is to decrease congestion while increasing traffic efficiency.
Their ideas have helped create a smoother and easier-to-drive traffic situation throughout the counties it serves. It has operated as a well-respected and frequently consulted group that not only offers expert advice, but which can issue revenue bonds to help fund projects. They can also use fees and funds raised via taxes to increase traffic flow efficiency.
What Is Their New Plan?
During their discussion, which included Heiligenstein and various transportation providers (such as Joseph Kopser of RideScout and Leandre Johns of Uber), focused on the ways that automatic transportation could be integrated in Williamson County. They were heavily focused on new technology and the way it could be used to better traffic in the area.
They were very intrigued by concepts as diverse as driverless vehicles and ridesharing concepts. They believed that they could transform Williamson County traffic and make it even less problematic. However, Heiligenstein was firm in the idea that Austin needed to improve their infrastructure first, stating that:
“Williamson has done such an amazing job of structuring its infrastructure over the past 15 years or so. But you are still going to have more people coming here. Try building those roads. Try expanding those capacities. It’s getting to a point where, the corridors we have remaining, we need to make them smarter, more efficient and more technically advanced.”
Another interesting point was the practicality of implementing these designs currently without first changing building codes to suit them. For example, Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw had this to say about automatic vehicle:
“The parking garage of the future, its levels will only be five feet tall, an inch taller than the car itself. It will have multiple levels, with charging stations on one level and a service station on another. That doesn’t fit into any current building code does it?”
Clearly there needs to be some work done before automatic cars will make their way to Williamson. However, with the Mobile Authority working hard to implement them, it shouldn’t be too long before big changes are made.