If you were Mayor for the day, how would you address transportation in Frisco? It is easy for us to point out the problems with traffic lights not working to our satisfaction or lane closures causing added difficulties, but my question is, how would you solve our mobility challenges? Would you widen all major thoroughfares? Would you consider public transportation? And, how would you pay for any or all of these measures? Also, traffic hot spots are not static. Do not forget that moving people around Frisco in a safe, efficient and cost-effective way is not only a concern for today but forever. This is a constantly evolving dilemma and is a question city staff, Council and I wrestle with constantly.
Thankfully, we have leading experts who are dedicated to solving this problem. I am not just referring to City of Frisco staff but to regional transportation authorities and to the private sector. They will all agree that there is no silver bullet solution. I am proud our city explores every option and seeks mobility experts.
A great example is the autonomous vehicle pilot program which just started July 30th. HALL Group had an objective of providing a way to transport the 10,000 people who work in HALL Park to The Star’s restaurants and entertainment and eventually to Frisco Station In Texas heat, it is too far to walk and yet, it does not seem efficient to move the cars from one side of Warren Road to the other. HALL identified drive a.i. as a potential technology partner. The California-based company was founded by graduate students out of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. HALL introduced City of Frisco to drive a.i. Then we added The Star, Frisco Station and Denton County Transportation Authority to the equation. With six entities partnering, it is easy to have a hiccup. The pilot program was designed in record time, Frisco is now the first city in Texas to provide on-demand, self-driving service, and the taxpayers are not paying for this six-month pilot program. Autonomous vehicles check three big boxes for us: improving safety on our roads, publicly accessible transportation and reducing the number of cars on the road.
We all know autonomous vehicles are not the silver bullet but may be part of the long-term solution. We are working closely with WAZE to inform our drivers of road conditions and closures and are deploying software to intelligently manage our traffic lights. In 2022, Uber Elevate will be transporting people from Frisco Station to their terminals at the airport for the same price as an Uber ride. One of the most prestigious car companies in the world, Toyota, is located across the street from Frisco and I am hopeful we can work together in the future on possible mobility solutions. The transportation industry is transforming and I am pleased Frisco has not committed billions of dollars to legacy public transportation systems. We are structurally and fiscally nimble to discover the top solutions for our businesses and residents.