Call Ahead for Traffic Alerts
October 5th, 2007

TRANSIT ALERTSoon, New Yorkers will be able to add 511 to the list of phone numbers they can call for services. The 511 system will give anybody the option to call a free number and find out what’s ahead of them wherever they are traveling throughout the state and metro region.

A caller will tell an automated system (in English, Spanish, or French Canadian) where they are going and how they are getting there and it will tell them if there are any problems along that route, whether it be by road, rail, water, bike, or foot.

At least one million users will also be able sign up to receive email alerts ahead of time. Text messages may also be available if any of the three contractors in the running to develop the system are able to provide text alerts. The New York State Department of Transportation is spearheading this initiative while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning its own text messaging system. It is not clear how closely the agencies are working together regarding the two alert systems.

The 511 website will also act as a portal to the various traffic and transit sites like (take a look at that if you haven’t already) and

New York’s 511 system is scheduled to be finished by January of 2009, although a fully functioning test service is supposed to be ready six months before that.

The 511 number was opened up by the Federal Communications Commission for this type of use in mid 2000. Currently, 29 states have active 511 systems, which reaches nearly 45 percent of the nation’s population. But some of those systems have been criticized as ineffective because of shoddy voice recognition systems and limited data. San Fransisco’s award winning system was one of the first, and was launched in December 2002.

By on October 5, 2007, 8:35 am
In category: Tech,Transportation | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Call Ahead for Traffic Alerts”

  1. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Plan Around That Subway Construction Says:
    November 20th, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    […] other scale back has been the multi-language service. When it was originally being discussed last year, plans were to offer English, Spanish and French-Canadian. But now it is English-only. […]

  2. Tim Watlington Says:
    November 2nd, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Hi my friend! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all significant infos. I would like to see more posts like this .

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