A partnership of key state and private organizations met last month in Boise to make recommendations to the Idaho Transportation Board on future improvements to ITD’s 511 traveler services system.
The Traveler Services System Advisory Council will provide critical review of the system’s information and delivery and help set priorities for improvements to the system. The council also will recommend decision making for Idaho regarding interaction with the Condition Acquisition and Reporting System (CARS) coalition of states.
At its first meeting, the advisory council reviewed a number of planned updates to the service beginning with improvements to the 511 web site: adding truck escape ramp locations and related information to the trucking page; linking to new highway cameras that are being installed this summer; and improving mountain pass web screens by adding more information and improving the web page’s design and navigation.
The group also looked at improving 511 telephone system voice recognition and overall operation.
Updates to a CARS segment updates data entry tool will include accommodation of reasons for road closures, improved ability to input conditions on mountain passes and changes to reporting segments.
The advisory council is made up of representatives from:
A representative from Ada County Highway District will be added. The group will meet up to twice a year.
“We are fortunate that so many organizations are willing to take the time and work together for a first-class traveler services system in Idaho,” said Alison Lantz, ITD traveler services system manager.
Advisory council recommendations will help provide the Idaho Transportation Board with a longer-term vision for the traveler services system, according to Dave Carlson, AAA representative on the council.
“AAA strongly represents traveler interests,” Carlson said, adding that motorists increasingly want immediate and more accurate road information available for planning highway trips. “The traveling public is growing up,” he said. “One hundred years ago AAA was just handing out maps.”
Steve Jones, patrol operations manager for ISP, said he sees benefits for his agency’s participation on the council. Calls to ISP seeking road information decreased during the past winter driving season, he said, freeing operators to answer more law enforcement calls. Jones has been attending user group meetings since the 511 system started.
“The most important factor is that ISP views itself as a partner with ITD to make highways safer and to provide a needed service to the public,” Jones said.
The 511 traveler services system was launched last November and provides motorists the latest information about highway construction projects, emergency road closures, weather conditions and tourist information. Travelers can dial 511 or visit 511.idaho.gov to get the latest updates.