Mike Heiligenstein has been talking about traffic congestion in Austin for a long time. He says that this is going to increase in a big way. But Mike Heiligenstein is not a person who talks about problems alone. He likes to give solutions too. This is why he has disclosed that the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is focused on looking at multiple solutions in order to address this situation. Besides, the CTRMA is looking at tech solutions too.
Mike Heiligenstein further said that the CTRMA is there to provide mobility solutions. This may be managed with a road at times. But many times, a road may not suffice.
He mentioned 183A Toll Road that was built in Cedar Park and Leander. This managed to transform these communities in a big way as they experienced heavy growth. Next was the U.S. 290 toll road that was built between Austin and Manor by CTRMA. Even this managed to triple the capacity of the existing road. This is a clear indication that building roads do manage to ease traffic woes.
Besides, CTRMA is not a private company. It is a local agency that is answerable to the people of Travis as well as Williamson counties since it was formed by them. Hence Mike Heiligenstein cannot rely on building roads alone if that is not enough to provide a comprehensive traffic solution.
The Mobility Authority has its heart set on innovation. This is why they are introducing the MoPac Express Lanes. These will even make use of variable tolling by making use of sophisticated technology. The traffic flow will become easier to manage this way. Mike Heiligenstein does acknowledge that this will not eliminate congestion completely. This is because only having the MoPac footprint is not enough for doing so. But he does state that it will make the commute more reliable. Having variable tolling rates would mean a better synchronization of supply and demand. This is required in order to ensure a much more predictable flow of traffic. This way the Express Lane will continue to move even if the other lanes tend to crawl during rush hour.
Mike Heiligenstein believes in integrating technology into all their future solutions. This is because roads have to turn into “smart roads.” This is why they are planning to embed fiber lines along their 183 South Project. This is being built between the US 290 and airport. Hence the road would be able to anticipate when vehicles are going the wrong way or having a breakdown.