2006-11-22 / News

Highway information now just a 511 call away

Thanksgiving, the official start of the holiday season, can be one of the busiest driving holidays. The state Department of Transportation reminds travelers to buckle up for safety and plan ahead by calling 511 or logging onto the 511 Web site by following a link from the Web site of the DOT's Transportation Management Center at www.tmc. state.ri.us.

By simply dialing 511 within the state, travelers can access real-time traffic information. updates, which are provided directly to 511 from the TMC around the clock, enable motorists to plan in advance based on road and traffic conditions in order to arrive on time and relaxed.

"The 511 system is a useful way of getting critical information out to the public when events and emergencies occur," DOT Director James R. Capaldi P.E. said. "Ultimately, it helps drivers avoid traffic delays while minimizing congestion as much as possible."

When heading home from traveling outside the state, motorists can retrieve information from the 511 system by dialing 1-888-401-4511.

Those heading to northern New England can dial 1-800- ICY-ROAD for Vermont road and tourist information; 1-866- 282-7579 to learn what's happening in New Hampshire, and 1-888-282-7578 to access road information for Maine. While in those states the same conditions apply to Rhode Island - motorists can simply dial 511 and bypass the out-of-state numbers.

Launched March 2005 with grant funds provided by the Federal Highway Administration, the Rhode Island 511 system is administered through a national consortium of 30 states. Rhode Island's system logs on average about 5,000 calls per month. More than 95 percent of the calls are for traffic information. The peak calling hours are between 4 and 6 p.m., which is consistent with the peak commuting hours.

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