Safe travel on Idaho’s roadways means being prepared, especially during winter months, when weather is the primary force affecting driving conditions.
This winter season, motorists will have a new tool at their disposal for safe travels. Idaho’s 511 traveler information service will launch in November, using state-of-the-art technology to provide road and weather information by phone and Internet.
Travelers can connect to the service by calling three easy-to-remember digits (5-1-1) or logging on to 511.idaho.gov for continual updates about winter driving conditions, weather, emergency road closures, traffic delays, links to tourism information and more.
Here’s an at-a-glance primer of what 511 is and how it works.
Travel Smart. Travel Safe
511 is part of a national effort
Idaho’s 511 vision
Type of information available
Connecting to 511
Motorists are encouraged to place safety first by asking a passenger to call 511, call or log on to 511.idaho.gov prior to departure, or place the call at an appropriate stopping point along the way.
The service is provided free of charge to the public. Calls to 511 are considered local when dialed from a pay phone or landline phone. Wireless phone users are responsible for normal airtime and roaming charges in accordance with their wireless service contracts. ITD encourages motorists to pull off the road and park in a safe area before using cell phones.
Idaho is part of a multi-state consortium that shares the cost of designing and developing the CARS (Condition Acquisition Reporting System)/511 system. Participating states include Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington.
Where the information originates
Idaho Transportation Department field staff and Idaho State Police officers provide information from around the state to continually update the system. Road and weather condition information is input into the Condition Acquisition and Reporting System (CARS), the primary data collection tool for 511.
Additional information comes from the National Weather Service, Ada County Highway District and the Road Weather Information System.
The system continues to evolve as a comprehensive and timely source of data.
511 is made possible through the cooperation of the Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor, Idaho State Police, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Emergency Medical Services Bureau, the Ada County Highway District and the Federal Highway Administration.