BATON ROUGE, La. – In conjunction with the start of the 2009 hurricane season, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has launched an upgrade to the 511 Traveler Information Service, a system that provides travelers with around-the-clock, real-time traffic and road condition updates via the phone or Internet.
The system, which can be accessed by dialing 5-1-1 or by visiting www.511la.org, allows callers to access up-to-date information about construction activities, weather-related road conditions and critical incidents. During an emergency evacuation, the system also will provide specific information about road conditions related to contraflow operations.
Improvements to the Web-based 511 system include enhanced maps that use Google applications, the ability to view reports by route or by region, and the addition of DOTD cameras to the 511 system, thereby streamlining the traveler information on DOTD’s Web site. In addition, users can view upcoming events up to two weeks in advance by using the future reports application. Improvements to the phone-based 511 system include more detailed location descriptions, such as local road names, and simplified user navigation.
“The 511 Traveler Information Service is an important travel tool drivers can use to make convenient and safe driving decisions,” said DOTD Secretary William D. Ankner, Ph.D. “I am confident these changes will improve the overall driving experience in our state, and I encourage all drivers to use the system.”
DOTD works with Louisiana State Police to keep the system updated with information about incidents that significantly affect traffic. In addition, DOTD keeps the system updated with information about construction lane closures and weather-related information.
While 511 is a free service, wireless phone users are still responsible for normal airtime and roaming charges in accordance with their wireless contracts. Anyone calling from outside Louisiana can access the 511 Traveler Information Service by calling 888-ROAD-511 (888-762-3511).
DOTD launched the original 511 system in December 2007. The 511 Traveler Information Service is part of a nationwide effort to provide consistent and reliable traveler information. The Federal Communications Commission designated 511 as the national traveler information phone number in July 2000, in response to a 1999 U.S. Department of Transportation petition.