Mike Heiligenstein Says “Maybe” To Driverless Technology

Driverless technology is becoming an increasingly popular and efficient way for people to travel. However, there isn’t much use of it right now in the Austin area. That could change, however, as Mike Heilgenstein and the Mobility Authority discussed the possibility of integrating it into the Austin county area.

Who Is Mike Heiligenstein?
Mr. Heiligenstein is a transportation expert who has worked in the Central Texas area for years. He is currently the Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

This group was created to handle transportation problems plaguing the area. They work to create infrastructure methods that streamline the way people travel through the area.

For example, with their help the area was the first in the country to transition to an entirely electronic toll system that allowed for cash-free payment. They have also helped open toll roads and various express lanes that have made transportation in this very populated area easier than ever.

Mr. Heiligenstein currently works as President of the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association as well. These years of expertise have made him one of the most important and respected traffic specialists in Texas.

What Did They Discuss?
During this growth summit in Austin, they discussed how they were going to solve some of the traffic challenges still hammering the suburban area. For example, the concept of driverless vehicles was very heavily debated.

Many on the committee were very excited by the possibilities that it offered, but were uncertain if the area was prepared for it. Even concepts as intriguing as ride sharing apps like Uber were discussed as a potential solution.

Mr. Heilgenstein was particularly positive about driverless vehicles and even ride sharing apps, but was concerned about the including infrastructure that existed in the area. He said: “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.”

Final Thoughts
Mr. Heilgenstein raises some very good points about driverless technology. Is it wise to invest in it just yet when there’s so many infrastructure needs that must be discussed? It’s hard to say, but it’s likely that driverless technology, while not coming to the area in the next few years, could come to the area at some point.

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Mike Heiligenstein

February 8, 2017

Posted In: Transportation

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