BOISE, Idaho — With winter driving weather bearing down on much of the state, a new and improved version of the 511 Traveler Information System launched Thursday. The improved site, still accessible at 511.idaho.gov, offers an updated look and new features for the 14-year-old service.
The updated 511 service has been updated and features better access for users. The improvement also means that all platforms – desktop computer, tablet, cell phone — will be supported by that one single site.
“The new website offers a new, more intuitive user interface,” explained 511 Manager Tony Ernest. “We are simplifying and consolidating — making it easier to use and find the information people want.”
Ernest said all users will be supported by a single site, so no more high and low bandwidth options.
“We’re taking the best from each of them and rolling it into one location,” Ernest explained.
Rather than offering a separate version for commercial vehicle operators, the improved 511 has a special “Truckers” mode more customized to their specific needs. Ernest also said the improved site welcomes feedback.
“The site lets you offer your feedback to us,” Ernest said. “Based on what you tell us, we will continue to modify and improve the site over the next few months.”
The 511 service has proven to be a valuable source of information on road conditions statewide. The 511 slogan — “Know B 4 U Go” — is a reminder that it is best to get road condition information before you get behind the wheel and start your trip, and to factor in conditions along your travel route and at your destination.
The 511 service in Idaho launched in November 2005, just before the first serious winter weather hit the state. Since then, citizens have accessed the 511 service seeking road condition information 41 million times.
The system accesses 150 traffic cameras statewide. Idaho’s system came about as the result of a Federal Communications Commission ruling in 2000 designating 511 as the nation’s traveler information phone number.
Nearly two dozen enhancements have been made since the 511 system was unveiled. In addition to four state awards, in 2010 the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recognized the system with a national President’s Transportation Award for Traffic Safety.