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511 provides toll-free information on road conditions and delays

Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2004

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Starting today, North Carolinians can dial 511 for current travel information about road conditions, highway construction and traffic delays caused by accidents or bad weather.

The toll-free number, available statewide around the clock, is intended to provide easy access to information that can help travelers steer clear of trouble spots.

Speech-recognition technology enables 511 callers to retrieve the information they want by pressing touch-tone keys or by stating their choices. The automated system takes text information about highway conditions posted on a state Department of Transportation Web site, http://www.ncsmartlink.org and converts it to speech. It also provides other travel and tourism information.

North Carolina is the 17th state to introduce statewide 511 service since 2002. The Bush administration has provided startup funding in North Carolina and other states, with a goal of extending 511 service to half of the nation's population by the end of 2005.

The federal government helped North Carolina establish 511 service with an initial grant of $100,000. The state hopes for 80 percent federal funding as it makes plans to spend about $1 million annually in the next several years to pay for users' phone calls and to expand the service.

HOW IT WORKS

Dial 5-1-1. It's free unless your mobile phone provider charges for the time you're making the call.

After a greeting, you may hear an urgent message such as a statewide weather emergency, notice about a wreck that has shut down a major highway or an Amber Alert about an abducted child.

A friendly, recorded female voice asks you to choose from several options. Sometimes, in a conversational tone, "she" checks to make sure your choices are understood: "What was that?"

* Public transportation. Information about rail service, ferry service and public transit. (Only Triad-area transit information is available now.)

* Other services. Information about tourism, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Division of Motor Vehicles and state Department of Transportation customer service.

* Other states. A connection to the 511 service for Virginia's Interstate 81 corridor. (More states may be added in the future.)

* Highway. Information about weather conditions, accidents or construction that could affect traffic on a specific U.S. or state highway or highways within one of the state's metropolitan regions.

 
Related info:
NCDOT SmartLink
e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page
 
 
 


Related info:
NCDOT SmartLink
 
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