511 system expands in Virginia

News VDOT August 31, 2005
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Just in time for Labor Day and back-to-school, Virginia’s 511 traffic and travel information phone system has expanded to include 55 new routes to the phone system and website, www.511Virginia.org.

“The expanded 511 service will help drivers across Virginia make better travel decisions,” said Gregory A. Whirley, acting commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). “By providing information on road and travel conditions, 511 helps travelers reach their destinations safer and quicker not only in Virginia, but in several states across the country.”

Travelers have access to road condition information on the additional routes just added to the system as well as on all interstates in Virginia. Nationally, 511 is available in 23 states and more states are set to deploy in the coming months.

Some of the major routes added to the 511 system in Virginia include the Fairfax County Parkway, the Prince William Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road in the Northern Virginia region and the Powhite Parkway and the Pocahontas Parkway in the Richmond region. Other major roads added statewide include routes 1, 5, 17, 29, 58, 201 and 288.

Road condition and traffic information on the new routes is supplied by VDOT and local law enforcement. VDOT and the Virginia State Police will continue to provide information updates on the interstate system and some primary roads.

The Virginia 511 system launched statewide last February. An earlier version of 511 operated along the I-81 corridor from February 2002 until the statewide system launch this year. In July 2005, the 511 system logged its one-millionth call since the 2002 I-81 launch.

Nationally, the 511 number--as of July 2005--logged nearly 38 million calls since its inception in July 2000. As of August 2005, more than 81 million Americans have a 511 service available to them locally. For information and locations of 511 nationwide, go to www.deploy511.org to see maps, updates and reports on the progress of 511. The Federal Communications Commission designated 511 as the national travel information number five years ago.

The Virginia 511 system updates callers and website visitors with information about road construction, traffic and weather conditions, traffic incidents, transit information, lodging, food, gas and more. The service is available 24 hours a day by dialing 5-1-1 or by visiting www.511Virginia.org. Outside Virginia, 511 Virginia can be accessed by calling 800/578-4111. Hearing impaired users (TDD users) can call 711 and ask to be connected to 511.

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