5-1-1 is a transportation and traffic information telephone hotline in some regions of the United States and Canada. Travelers can dial the three-digit telephone number on landlines and most mobile phones. The number has also extended to be the default name of many state and provincial transportation department road conditions Web sites, such as Wisconsin's site. It is an example of an N11 code, part of the North American Numbering Plan.
5-1-1 services in the United States are organized by state or region. Some 5-1-1 services are limited to information for drivers regarding road conditions and traffic. Other services have a wider scope, also providing information on public transport, carpooling and other services.
In the United States
History and implementation
Beginning as a research project at the University of North Dakota in the Summer 1995, an Advanced Traveler Information System, known by its phone number #SAFE (#7233). This initial system provided the proof of concept for a statewide application across both North and South Dakota, and later Minnesota. This system proved that all interstates, and state highways, could be covered and information about these roadways could be provided to travelers on demand 24/7. After more than 5 years of around the clock operations, the principles that established the operational and business rules of the #SAFE program were adopted by the FHWA as the initial guidelines of what was to later become 5-1-1. As of March 2001, at least 300 telephone numbers existed for travel information systems in the United States. To overcome the confusion caused by this array of numbers, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a national assignment of a single three-digit N11 dialing code. On July 21, 2000, the FCC assigned 511 as a nationwide telephone number for intelligent transportation system (ITS) traveler information, along with 2-1-1 for social services. Its use is being promoted by the USDOT's ITS initiative.
The first statewide 511 traveler information system was launched across the state of Nebraska in October 2001.
Eight states, from Alaska to Maine, pooled resources and expertise to develop the 511 voice-activated phone service for travelers. Led by the Iowa DOT, the multi-state consortium received $700,000 from the Federal Highway Administration to help pay for system design and software development. Each state also provided a 20 percent matching fund, boosting total funds to nearly $900,000. In addition to Iowa, the participating states in the consortium (as of 2011) are Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, and Vermont.
Individual states have the lead role in coordinating 511 deployments. National leadership is provided by the 511 Deployment Coalition. Led by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and including travel information experts from more than 30 organizations, the Coalition has developed voluntary guidelines for state transportation agencies to follow when planning 511 service for their states or regions. Other leading member organizations of the Coalition include the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Active 511 systems (in order of deployment date) as of January 31, 2010:
- Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky
- Orlando, Florida
- Washington state
- South Dakota
- Kentucky statewide
- Los Angeles and Southern California
- San Francisco Bay Area
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- Sacramento, California and Northern California
- Tampa, Florida
- Rhode Island
- Florida statewide, except for the southwest region
- Jacksonville, Florida
- San Diego
- Southwestern Florida
- St. Louis, Missouri
- California Eastern Sierra
- Eastern Massachusetts
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Nova Scotia
- New York
- Inland Empire (California)
- West Virginia
Florida has an active 511 system that underwent an overhaul in 2009.
This statewide Georgia Navigator system provides traffic, MARTA/GRTA and other public transport, rideshare, Clean Air Campaign, Atlanta and Savannah airport, Amtrak, Greyhound, weather and tourism information in an interactive voice response (IVR) format. Callers are also given the option of connecting to live operators at the Georgia Department of Transportation's Transportation Management Center in Atlanta. Connecting to operators allows users to report traffic accidents to the Georgia State Patrol or local police or sheriffs, or request motorist assistance from the Highway Emergency Response Operators (HERO) program. Callers can also connect to adjacent states' 5-1-1 systems, including North Carolina's.
In January 2011, the Georgia Department of Transportation launched a mobile application on the iPhone platform to provide iPhone users with a mobile option for up to the minute traffic information found on the website. The application also provides special offers and other information about businesses and organizations who participate in the program.
Georgia actually had a system for years before this, using only live operators, and the code *DOT (*368), which could not necessarily be used by those mobile phone users who were roaming from elsewhere, as these codes are specific to each phone company. A local 404 number in metro Atlanta and a toll-free 800 number were used for these and landline calls, and still serve as backup for mobile providers that fail to connect.
In Kentucky, 511 services cover traffic and weather conditions, and can also be heard on the radio on the AM dial (the Travelers' Information Station) and at 511.ky.gov.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation has implemented a service that helps commuters and travelers access information regarding weather-related road conditions, construction and congestion, via the Web or mobile device 24/7. The site can be found at www.511nh.com. New Hampshire is part of an 8-state consortium that is sharing the cost to design and develop the system.
511 New York is established and administered by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). Basic service was launched in the New York City metropolitan area in late 2008. Statewide coverage and more sophisticated services will be added throughout 2009. 511 NY – "Get Connected to Go" is the umbrella brand of The New York State Department of Transportation for traffic, transit and travel information. The 511 New York theme line is: Get Connected to Go. The tag line is: New York State's Official Traffic and Travel Info Source. The credit line is: A Free Service of the New York State Department of Transportation.
In the New York metropolitan area 5-1-1 provides information on bus, subway, and commuter rail mass transit systems in addition to road conditions and traffic information.
Pennsylvania's statewide 511 launched on September 1, 2009. The system provides up to date information on all the states interstate highways.
Implemented in August 2006, Tennessee travelers have the option of accessing road and travel conditions at TN511.com or through the 511 phone service.
The FCC designated 511 as the national traveler information number. Virginia's 511 system began in the Shenandoah Valley in 2000 and went statewide in early 2005. Currently both the 511virginia.org website and calling 511 from any land line or mobile phone provides statewide travelling information. Alternatively, there is now a 511 VDOT app for iOS and Android devices.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation's free 511 Traveler Information System provides real-time traffic information, including congestion, construction, lane closures, road conditions and severe weather information on all West Virginia interstates and other major highways. The resource is available 24 hours a day via phone by dialing 511 or online at WV511.org. WV 511 advisories also are available from the WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app and via statewide, regional and roadway-specific Twitter feeds. The public safety alerts (such as Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts) carried on 511 are voluntary, cooperative partnerships among law enforcement, WVDOT, other agencies and local broadcasters. WVDOT uses overhead electronic message signs and 511 to get public safety alerts out to the public. 511 was implemented in West Virginia in 2012.
In the summer of 2007, the original vendor was removed and services were redesigned and improved using Meridian Environmental Technology. The effort to redesign and improve service undertaken [summer of 2007] to revamp WYDOT's 511 Travel Information telephone service is paying benefits this winter, based on recent customer feedback.
Some of the additional features are:
- Ability to choose neighboring states that provide 511 information
- Voice recognition, with the option to revert to touchtone keypad input
- Ability to choose route-specific information or regional summaries
- Agency capability to include Alerts (Amber, Homeland, customized)
In addition to the phone service, travelers in the San Francisco Bay Area can access transit and traffic information on a Web site, which provides information on mass transit schedules and an interactive trip planner, which will provide an optimal routing between a given origin, destination, and optional time constraints. In addition, 511.org provides information on bicycling, ridesharing, and the toll road system FasTrak. 511.org is a service of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and was designed by the transportation engineering company Parsons Brinckerhoff, Farradyne (now Telvent Farradyne). The system had a fair amount of controversy when it was announced that it would use FasTrak electronic toll tags to track vehicles as they traversed Bay Area freeways. 511 has since stopped using FasTrak toll tag data to provide driving times. Driving times are now derived from GPS probe vehicle-based traffic speed data that 511 purchases from INRIX, Inc.
Users of the San Diego area have access to road, transit, and other information via the phone and Web. They can access transit information on a Web site, which provides information on mass transit schedules and an interactive trip planner, which will provide an optimal routing between a given origin, destination, and optional time constraints. In addition, 511sd.com provides information on bicycling, ridesharing, and the toll road system Fastrak. 511sd.com is a service of the San Diego Association of Governments, and was designed by the company ICx Technologies and PB Farradyne (now Telvent Farradyne).
Elsewhere in the United States
Similar services are operated in other cities and states; for example, the Minnesota Department of Transportation operates a website for traffic and road condition information. Central Florida is claimed to have the most-used 511 system in the nation, on a per capita basis.
The Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada (ITS Canada) has brought together a consortium, the Canada 511 Consortium, to help get 5-1-1 service established in Canada.
In January 2005, the consortium filed an application to assign the 5-1-1 access code in Canada. It proposed that in addition to traffic, the number would report weather, which also has a major impact on traffic, particularly in a country with such harsh winters. The application was approved by the CRTC in Canada on July 28, 2006.
In March 2007, an article in Computing Canada said it was up to each individual province whether or not to launch a 5-1-1 system, but that not all provinces were eager to proceed.
In May 2008, an article in ComputerWorld Canada claimed that the 5-1-1 initiative "appears to have lost momentum".
British Columbia began loose implementation of 5-1-1 service in late 2009/early 2010. This replaced the interim mobile service provided by *4997 (*HWYS) which had been in place on Rogers, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility. BC 5-1-1 service is available to Telus, Telus Mobility and Telus MiKE clients at this[when?] time. Full service NOT utilizing 5-1-1 is available via DriveBC (a government website/phone line) at www.drivebc.ca or by phone across North America at 1-800-550-4997 (HWYS).
In Saskatchewan 5-1-1 redirects to 888-335-7623 which is the Highways Hotline, A Provincial phone information system with highway weather and impassibility information. The Implementation date is Unknown.
Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon Territory each have 5-1-1 systems. Most provinces and territories without 5-1-1 systems have other road information hotlines, accessible by dialing various phone numbers.
- "511wi | Home". 511wi.gov. Archived from the original on April 27, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "511 Guidelines Version 3.0" (PDF). September 2005. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 17, 2007. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
- "FCC designates 511 traffic information number". Civil Engineering. 70 (9): 12. September 2000.
- "511 Deployment Status" Archived September 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, USDOT. Retrieved on March 3, 2008
- "Nebraska 511 Information" Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, USDOT. Retrieved on June 12, 2009
- "Deploy511.org". Deploy511.org. Archived from the original on May 23, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "Phone Upgrades". Archived from the original on February 4, 2015. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
- "Dial 511 for transportation information". Atlanta Journal Constitution. August 15, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2006.[dead link]
- "511.ky.gov". 511.ky.gov. Archived from the original on May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "About 511". New Hampshire Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on January 2, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- "Post-gazette.com". Post-gazette.com. March 16, 2012. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "TN511.com". TN511.com. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "511virginia.org". 511virginia.org. Archived from the original on August 7, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "West Virginia 511 - Know Before You Go". West Virginia Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on April 8, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
- "WYDOT suspends 511 to make service improvements". Wyoming DOT News. July 3, 2007. Archived from the original on April 22, 2007.
- "Revamped 511 Travel Information service increases customer satisfaction". Wyoming DOT News. February 11, 2008.[permanent dead link]
- "511.org". 511.org. May 10, 2012. Archived from the original on May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "Telvent Farradyne corporate site". 2006. Archived from the original on November 18, 2006. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
- FasTrak Application and License Agreement Archived May 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Toll Tags: section, last subsection: You agree that the Toll Tag may be read to provide anonymous traffic flow data to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's '511' project, a real time traffic information service. No information identifying a FasTrak account, person or vehicle using the Toll Tag will be collected by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission or '511'.
- "Privacy". Archived from the original on February 14, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- "Inrix Partners Expanding". Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- "San Francisco re-ups SAIC unit for 511". October 2006. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2007.
- "Central Florida 511 system nation's most used". Orlando Business Journal. August 4, 2006. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
- "ITS Canada Project 511". Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada. Archived from the original on July 4, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
ITS Canada has initiated an effort to establish the 511 telephone number as an automated 'weather and traveller information service' number in Canada. ... ITS Canada has developed a 'Canada 511 Consortium'... .
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (July 28, 2006). "Telecom Decision CRTC 006-44: Applications for assignment of the 5-1-1 access code". Government of Canada. Archived from the original on August 21, 2006. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
- Sibley, Kathleen (March 2, 2007). "Road to national 511 service is littered with speed bumps". Computing Canada. 33 (3). ISSN 0319-0161. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
That's because, while Environment Canada is spearheading the weather information service, the other portion is the responsibility of the provinces, not all of whom have the same interest in (or resources to participate in) the project. And that, say experts, could leave a good part of the undertaking in the ditch.
Lombardi, Rosie (May 20, 2008). "511 service off to slow start in Canada". ComputerWorld Canada. IT World Canada. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
But the initiative appears to have lost momentum.
- "Alberta set to launch new 511 service". Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
Alberta's provincial government is set to unveil its new 511 road report service on Monday.
- "Alberta road conditions, road reports and traffic cams". Archived from the original on September 2, 2014.
- "Manitoba 511 - Road and Traveller Information". Archived from the original on December 10, 2014.
- "What other services come with my Cogeco Home Phone service?". Cogeco Home Phone FAQ. Cogeco Cable Inc. Archived from the original on December 7, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
511 is a quick way to contact the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. From this line, you can obtain traffic, weather and road condition reports across the province.
- "Home Phone Service". Distributel Communications Ltd. website. Archived from the original on June 30, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
5-1-1 is a free service that allows callers to find out about road conditions, report transportation incidents, make comments or complaints, and obtain other general information pertaining to transportation. 5-1-1 is available in Ontario and Quebec and is intended for non-emergency inquiries.Click either of the "Available services" tabs to see the original quoted text.
- "Ontario 511 - About Ontario 511". MTO. Government of Ontario. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
Ontario 511 is an Ontario Ministry of Transportation telephone service that provides the public with voice-activated, hands-free information on provincial highways: Road closures, Winter road conditions, and Construction projects
- "Traffic Advisories / Road Construction Report". New Brunswick Department of Transportation website. Archived from the original on June 16, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
For Road Conditions Dial 511 within New Brunswick
- "Road Conditions - 511". Nova Scotia Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal website. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- "Prince Edward Island to introduce 511 system". Prince Edward Island Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal website. Archived from the original on May 20, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- "Transportation & Travel Information". Town of Faro website. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
Dial 511 from any touch-tone phone in the Yukon for the current road report
- Luebke, Bruce A. "Road Conditions and Construction Information". Drivers Daily Log website. Archived from the original on September 23, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
This list below provides phone number and Web site information by state for road conditions and road construction forecasts in the United States and Canada.
Region-specific 511 sites
- California – Greater Los Angeles Area
- California – Sacramento Area
- California – San Diego Area
- California – San Francisco Bay Area
- California – San Luis Obispo County
- Florida – Jacksonville Florida Area
- Florida – Southeast Florida Area
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Northern New England – New Hampshire
- Northern New England – Vermont
- Southwest Ohio – Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia