Ga. introduces traffic info phone line

511 line kicks off upgrade of Georgia Navigator's phone-in traffic information service

News The Atlanta Journal-Constitution July 18, 2007
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Georgia is unveiling a new phone line for traffic information. The 511 transportation line will be the start of a big upgrade of Georgia Navigator’s phone-in traffic information service, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The line is still in operational testing, said 511 Program Manager Anthony Bradford. It is already available through Verizon, Sprint and land-line phones, and Bradford hopes it will be available to all callers by the end of July.

Currently, drivers can reach Navigator at *DOT from most cell phones, or call 404/635-8000 or 888/635-8287 to get information about road conditions that comes from Navigator’s network of congestion sensors and cameras on Atlanta highways. The *DOT number will shut down after an overlap of about six months.

Soon callers should be able to receive all road-related information, along with information about MARTA, ride-sharing, airports and weather, in one place.

The service, which will route the caller to the information line run by the appropriate agency, is automated, and should be able to process nicknames like “Spaghetti Junction” or “the Brookwood Split,” Bradford said.

The 511 service was demonstrated at a recent DOT board meeting. Transportation Management Center (TMC) spokeswoman Monica Luck had to repeat her starting point to get information about a specific route, but otherwise the system worked as stated.

The system asks for several prompts, but if punching numbers on cell phones distracts drivers, they have the option of speaking their responses to the voice recognition program, Luck said.

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