Department of Highways, District 8
Highway Department prepares for Winter Weather with 511
SOMERSET, KY – (December 21, 2005) – Slick and icy roads are not the winter drivers specialty, but with the three-digit toll-free travel information phone number, winter travelers can make a more informed decision whether to stay home or venture out into the white stuff.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet adopted the 511 toll–free travel information number issued by the Federal Communications Commission three years ago, and many local residents were not aware the system existed.
“Most people will try and risk going out if conditions are not caught on television or radio weather reports, not certain if the roads are safe because specific road reports are rarely given on TV,” said Stephanie Daffron, Drive Smart Coordinator in District Eight.
The 511 automated telephone system can handle up to 600 phone calls at one time, and can be accessed by cell phone, land line, and also on the Web at www.511.ky.gov. The system provides real-time updates on driving conditions, accidents, road construction, weather forecasts, and National Weather Service alerts in the state. It also connects callers to live operators for tourism inquiries within the state.
It is the hope of the Transportation Cabinet that the traveling public will learn more about the 511 system so the phone lines will be free for dispatchers to answer emergency calls.
Rather than calling KSP, you now have the 511 number that is updated minute-by-minute through the collaboration of police agencies, freeway service patrols and other local and state government members. Private individuals also call to report wrecks or other roadway problems, which are then verified by law enforcement agencies or other government officials.
Before Kentucky used 511, there was only a once-daily road report accessible through an 800-number that was simply a recording of highway conditions reported by district officials each morning.
“Kentucky’s 511 program is going to continue to expand, Daffron said, with almost 30 travel information kiosks at most rest stops, welcome center and truck havens.
“It’s very easy to use, Daffron said. “We like it and hope that the public will take advantage of it and like it too.”
To access the toll-free travel information system, dial 511 from any phone or visit www.511.ky.gov.