The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) was established in 2003 in order to create traffic solutions in the Travis and Williamson counties of Texas. This area has a challenge as the suburbs are experiencing rapid population growth but much of the job growth is in Austin. This creates a headache for traffic as too many people are trying to go the same way at the same times.
The Executive Director of CTRMA, Mike Heligenstein, has said that they’re looking at this issue from every way they can. He says that sometimes the solution is a new road while at other times a different solution is called for. One road the organization built that has helped is U.S. 290 which is a new toll road between Manor and Austin.
Mike Heligenstein and his team at the CTRMA also look at technology as a way to reduce congestion and help motorist get where they need to go in a reasonable amount of time. The CTRMA is building MoPac Express Lanes which makes use of variable tolling which is designed to keep traffic moving in these lanes. The cost of driving in the lane goes up when the system detects traffic is slowing in these lanes and becomes less expensive when traffic is lighter.
Another development is putting fiber lines in the road on the 183 South project. This will allow future smart cars to talk to the road to find out about upcoming traffic problems and how to get around them. The CTRMA is also developing smartphone apps that help people navigate the area better as well as call for help when they are in trouble due to a car breakdown. Getting these breakdowns off the road promptly helps everyone’s commute as well as improves safety.
Mike Heligenstein has been a public servant for 30 years. Prior to the Governor of Texas putting him in charge of CTRMA he was a longtime City Council Member of Round Rock. He has also served as one of the Williamson County Commissioners. He has developed a deep expertise in transportation and infrastructure projects during his professional career.
As a recognized transportation expert, Mike Heligenstein has also served on the Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council. Additionally, he was one of the co-founders of Envision Central Texas and serves as a board member directing this organization’s activities and strategic vision.