Modification of 511 platform helps drivers
A new feature in the Idaho Transportation Department’s 511 Traveler Services platform is helping drivers save time by alerting them to traffic congestion that will create unusual or above-normal delays.
Traditionally, the 511 system displayed travel delays that were related to existing roadwork and incidents that were pre-programmed into the platform. However, it did not have the ability to offer information on recurring delays not associated with an exceptional event. For example, it couldn’t report on normal rush-hour delays. This meant those visiting 511 did not have the option to learn how bad delays were. Any information about delays was tied to construction activity, weather or an accident, and not traffic congestion.
“The change to the platform now allows it to report on a ‘Rush Hour Traffic’ event that only becomes visible to the public when significant travel delays occur during the morning or evening rush hours,” said Tony Ernest, the manager of the 511 platform. “The traffic event will have its own traffic congestion icon on the 511 map, and using a computer mouse to click on the icon will show the current delay in minutes.”
Ernest added that if rush-hour congestion delays along a strretch of highway are less than two minutes, then no traffic congestion icon will appear. So, city highways that seldom experience significant rush-hour congestion will only see this under very unusual circumstances.
511 users can now access the system to learn how bad congestion is before they set out on their morning or evening commute, and see how current traffic conditions compare to routine traffic patterns. This allows them to adjust their commute to avoid heavy congestion, or give themselves extra time to reach their destinations.