511 Travel Information: Happy Fifth Birthday to the Nation's Travel Information Number

The First 511 Call Was Made Five Years Ago Today

Washington, DC – Five years ago today, the first call to 511 – the nation’s travel information number – was placed in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky by Secretary James Codell of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Since the first call on June 21, 2001, more than 53 million 511 calls have been made. More than 18 million calls were made to 511 nationwide in 2005, which was a 23 percent increase from 2004.

Twenty-eight active 511 systems are now deployed in 24 states, accessible by more than 93 million Americans. An additional 10 states are expected to launch 511 services in 2006, which means roughly 50 percent of the population will be served by 511.

A growing number of travelers and transportation agencies are discovering the benefits of 511 services. One call can alert drivers, tourists, and transit riders to real-time information on traffic incidents and delays, special road conditions, and transit information. With this information, travelers can make better travel decisions by avoiding traffic congestion and weather-related hazards.

“Overall, this is a celebratory year for transportation and traveler information,” John Njord, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Transportation and Chair of the 511 Deployment Coalition said. “The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System turns 50 just days after 511 turns five years old.”

June 29, 2006, marks the 50th anniversary of the day federal legislation was signed to begin engineering the U.S. Interstate Highway System. Once a network of two lane highways, it now stretches to 46,000 miles of paved interstates. Now, information on travel conditions on the interstates can be nearly important as the conditions of the highways themselves.

While 511 is useful on a daily basis to both commuters and travelers, the service has proven to be an invaluable method of getting critical information to the public when emergencies or events arise. When highways are closed due to accidents or weather conditions and when AMBER Alerts are in effect, travelers call 511 sometimes thousands of calls per hour.

Last year, the President signed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) bill, which included “with goals of ensuring that a national, interoperable 511 system, along with a national traffic information system that includes a user-friendly, comprehensive Web site, is fully implemented for use by travelers throughout the United States by September 30, 2010.” The 511 Deployment Coalition is actively working with states and regions operating and planning 511 services to achieve this goal.

The 511 Deployment Coalition is a partnership of the Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), and the U.S. Department of Transportation. For more information on 511, visit www.deploy511.org .

For more on this, please contact:

Pete Costello
Senior Project Manager
Transportation Network Information Services
482 South Keller Road
Orlando, FL 32810-6101
(407) 647-7275 x 4440
Direct (407) 806-4440
Fax (309) 403-1157

Sandy Myers
511 Marketing & Outreach Committee Chair, 511 Deployment Coalition
Public Relations Manager, VDOT Staunton District
811 Commerce Road
P. O. Box 2249
Staunton, VA 24402-2249
Office: (540) 332-9201
Blackberry: (540) 292-2500

Kathe Riley Jackson
Manager, Corporate Communications
Toll-free:800.284.5182, ext. 4331

Mailing Address:
482 South Keller Road

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE • Washington, DC 20590 • 800.853.1351 • E-mail OST-R

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