WYDOT suspends 511 service temporarily
Travel Information System
by Wyoming Department of Transportation
June 28, 2007
The Wyoming 511 travel information system, provided by the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), is being redesigned, and as a result, the 511 telephone number is temporarily out of service.
This summer, those who dial '511," or the back-up number, 888-WYO-ROAD (888-996-7623), will hear a message that the system is being upgraded to provide more efficient and customer friendly service. The system will be available again by mid-September.
Wyoming 511 went live last fall, replacing the previous phone service known as the Wyoming Road Report. Although feedback from a customer survey undertaken last winter found that overall, the 511 system was rated favorably by the public, several specific aspects needed improvement.
"The voice recognition function, which allows callers to speak responses when prompted by the system, presented the biggest problem," according to Vince Garcia, WYDOT's ITS program manager.
After the 511 telephone service becomes available again this fall, touch-tone input will become the default method for users to interact with the system. Voice response will still be an option, but the caller will have to indicate at the beginning of the call that he or she would like to use it. Otherwise, entries will be made via the telephone keypad.
"Although we learned that most users believe 511 has been meeting its purpose of providing basic information, we also heard suggestions for changes and improvements. We received many complaints that the system was too repetitive, or that it couldn't understand user requests, and that it took too long to hear the reports," Garcia said.
The new 511 system will continue to provide useful travel information, including winter driving conditions, current travel advisories and whether any temporary or seasonal closures are in effect.
Users will be able to choose to hear conditions based on specific routes or by region. In either case, six-hour weather forecasts will accompany the road condition reports, which will include wind speed and direction.
The 511 system will continue to offer the advantage that when several consecutive sections of a route all have the same travel conditions, the sections will be consolidated into a single report. This feature saves time for callers, especially when they are checking on a long route such as I-80.