Three digits – 511 – will soon join 411 and 911 as important phone numbers everyone needs to know. Idaho’s 511 traveler information service will launch in November, providing road and weather information by phone and Internet.
Travelers can connect to the service by simply dialing 511 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.511 on the phone.
The 511 phone system uses voice recognition technology, enabling callers to interact with the system simply by speaking into the telephone. The system also incorporates options for using the phone keypad to make selections.
Callers to 511 would hear the following greeting:
If the caller says “Lewiston” he or she would hear a report that sounds something like this:
Or, if the caller says nothing, the system defaults to the main menu:
That’s all the categories. Just say the one you want.”The system is designed so that callers can pick the kind of travel information they want to hear.
“Other states using the same type of system report
that 511 callers are quick to learn and understand the system to suit
their needs,” says Jeff Stratten, ITD Public Information Officer.
“Callers familiarize themselves with the menu options and easily
navigate the phone system based on the routes or areas where they travel
most.”Calling 511 from a cell phone
Motorists are asked to always put safety first. Having a passenger call 511, calling or logging on to the Web site prior to departure, or calling from an appropriate stopping point along the way are alternatives to calling while driving.
Using voice commands with 511
Voice recognition technology can be sensitive to background noise, such as a radio or others speaking near the phone, which may cause the system to misunderstand voice commands. Speaking clearly and avoiding background noise can help avoid these problems.
Callers can also use the keypad to make requests in the 511 system.
Trouble accessing 511 by 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.
Pay phone users are responsible for the local call fee.
The voice behind the reports