Mike Heiligenstein serves as a director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. This is a government agency that is responsible for the maintenance of transportation and mobility infrastructure such as roads, railways, bridges and tunnels in central Texas. Mr. Heiligenstein has previously served as a representative at the local and county level before he was selected to head the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. In addition to his work with the CTRMA, Mike Heiligenstein provides consultation and advice with other state and national transportation groups.
On an op-ed piece for the Austin American-Statesman, Mike Heiligenstein laid out some of the ways that his Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is fighting against traffic jams. He also described how the CTRMA is taking a proactive approach to make roads safer, more efficient and more reliable for commuters. Mr. Heiligenstein also described some technological solutions and partnerships with private companies that can benefit everyone in the Central Texas area.
One of the ways to ensure a smooth flow of traffic during rush hour is through what Mike Heiligenstein describes as variable tolling. This allows the CTRMA to adjust toll rates on the various roads it controls to help decrease traffic on already congested roads. Variable tolling help steer people away from already contested roads and into roads that are congestion free by waiving and increasing tolls accordingly. The goal of variable tolling is to limit new traffic onto congested roads and to divert riders roads into ones that are clear.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is also partnering with smartphone apps such as Metropia. There are estimates that there are almost 900,000 empty car seats everyday from people commuting to and from work in the Central Texas metro area. Increasing ride sharing can drastically cut the amount of traffic and pollution in central Texas. It can also save people a lot of money on gas.
Mike Heiligenstein says his organization is also creating an emergency assistance program for vehicles with minor issues or breakdowns that will be free. Studies have found that a lot of the traffic is caused by minor breakdowns or issues on heavily traveled roads. The minor breakdowns cause a lot of starting and stopping among other motorists which lead to heavy traffic.
By offering free roadside assistance to vehicles with minor problems or breakdowns, traffic jams can be averted. The sooner such vehicles are off the road or fixed, the better it is for everybody.