Louisiana DOTD launches 511 Traveler Information System
Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 12:00:00 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. – Travelers in Louisiana are now able to access around-the-clock, real-time traffic and road condition updates by dialing 511 or visiting www.511la.org, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced today.

The new voice-activated 511 Traveler Information Service is now available to most Louisiana wireless and landline telephone users. The service allows callers to access up-to-date information about construction activities, weather-related road conditions and critical incidents simply by saying the route or region about which they are seeking information.

Traveler information is also available on Louisiana’s new 511 Traveler Information Web site. By knowing road conditions before leaving home, motorists will be able to make critical decisions about their trips.

“Providing Louisiana residents and visitors with timely information about travel conditions is one of the most important services DOTD can provide,” said DOTD Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry. “This tool will help travelers make pre-trip planning decisions and en-route decisions. More importantly, this information will help drivers make safer driving decisions.”

DOTD keeps the system’s construction and weather-related information updated, and Louisiana State Police updates information about incidents that significantly affect traffic.

Louisiana is the 27th state to launch the 511 Traveler Information Service, which is part of a nationwide effort to provide consistent and reliable traveler information.

The Federal Communications Commission designated 511 as the national traveler information phone number in July 2000, in response to a 1999 U.S. Department of Transportation petition.

At that time, Acadian Ambulance Service Inc. was using 511 as a quick-dial number for ambulance service from landline phones. DOTD worked out an agreement with Acadian Ambulance, so callers in parishes the company serves can still use 511 to reach Acadian. Now, callers who dial 511 from a landline phone in Acadian Ambulance parishes will be able to choose whether to be directed to the 511 Traveler Information Service or to the Acadian Ambulance Service.

More than 280 landline and wireless companies provide telecommunication services in Louisiana. Many of these companies have volunteered to make 511 available to their customers as a public service. While 511 is a free service, wireless phone users will still be responsible for normal airtime and roaming charges in accordance with their wireless contracts.

Some telecommunication companies are still making the switch to 511. Callers who experience difficulty reaching 511 from their phones should contact their service provider for assistance. Residents without access to 511, or anyone calling from outside of the state of Louisiana, can access the 511 Traveler Information Service by calling 888-ROAD-511 (888-762-3511).