Keeping Drivers Well Informed

What started out at the turn of themillenium as a simple dial-up travel information service has exponentially grown in the digital age. This article surveys the development of the US 511 traveler information system to date. The article describes how the 511 system has gone from its original intent a little over a decade ago to a collection of recorded messages accessible via phones for pre-trip planning to a network of dynamic traveler information services provided by states and cities throughout the United States (US). The 511 system offers access to a wide variety of real-time travel information via phone, web and smartphone apps. Starting out simply as one nationwide, easy-to-remember three-digit telephone number, 511 has come to represent the future of traveler information delivered via constantly through emerging technologies in a digital world. The spread of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology has also increased the scope of 511 far beyond its original purpose. In the years since 511 was established by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), both public and private sectors within the US transportation industry have increased their ITS initiatives. Now ITS technology collects massive amounts of data from US roadways every minute of the day, exponentially expanding the volume and quality of information that can be delivered to the traveling public. The result is that millions of Americans can now make better travel decisions, choosing departure time, mode of transportation and route in order to save time and money, as well as reduce congestion and resulting emissions and ultimately improve safety.


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  • Accession Number: 01482885
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 31 2013 3:46PM