A link to highway conditions

ITD joined a consortium of partners from other states in 2005 to introduce a new interactive system to help Idaho residents make informed winter travel decisions.

Those partners, along with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), began developing a new integrated system about a decade ago.

511 systems allow travelers to move across state lines and use a common access number, 5-1-1, to track highway conditions. Some systems provide options for accessing public transit information (transit buses and passenger rail). ITD introduced a public transit option and continues to refine and expand its capabilities.

States maintain their own web addresses for the travel information and several consortiums pool resources to operate centralized telephone call centers with automated responses.

Today’s nationwide network can be traced to 1999 when the U.S. Department of Transportation envisioned using an abbreviated three-digit dialing code similar to the number for making emergency calls (9-1-1) or requests for directory assistance (4-1-1).

The Federal Communications Commission designated the three digits to local, regional and state systems that provide highway condition information. By March 2005, about half (23) of the states offered 511 systems in 26 jurisdictions. Today, nearly every state has implemented a 511 system or is working on deployment of one.

Published 11-18-2011