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DOT&PF Revamps New Web, Phone Traveler Info System

(JUNEAU, Alaska) - The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) has expanded its 511 web and telephone traveler information system to include smart phone access and an RSS feed. This outreach using new technologies expands on the March 2010 debut of New Generation 511's website that features a completely revamped look with dynamic maps, a smart search tool and a user friendly map legend to select and deselect various travel advisories.        

Alaska DOT&PF's 511 mobile website also serves as a low-bandwidth site for rural areas having low broadband Internet coverage to make access easier for Alaska's travelers.  Individuals can type in 511.alaska.gov from a smart phone internet browser and view road conditions, construction reports, weather watches, incidents, and even view road weather camera images where available.  The mobile website does not generate a map, which makes it run much faster. 

"511 is a dynamic traveler information system," said Lisa Idell-Sassi, DOT&PF's 511 manager. "People rely on it every day and when we have a winter storm, we see our calls skyrocket."

New Generation 511, as it is known, includes a newly improved telephone system as well.  Idell-Sassi said, "Next year we'll also have a Twitter feed and launch a 511 app for smart phones."

The 511 phone system incorporates a new voice and menu structure for quicker access to highway reports and public transportation agencies including Canadian travel information, the National Weather Service (NWS),  and weight restrictions.

"Both the phone system and website provide direct integration of NWS weather alerts," said Lisa Idell-Sassi. "DOT&PF maintenance and operations crews, Alaska State Trooper dispatchers and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement provide information on driving conditions, major incidents and construction plans to keep travelers in the know before they go."

"We've listened to our customers, to the traveling public, and worked with our agency partners to develop a system that focuses on a traveler's needs," added Idell-Sassi.

DOT&PF integrated NWS weather watches and the road weather cameras along with the DOT&PF maintenance and operations station reports directly onto the map. An intelligent search tool allows users to quickly zoom to an area of interest such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, the Dalton or Sterling Highways.

The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 256 airports, 11 ferries serving 33 communities, 5,700 miles of highway and 660 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to provide for the safe movement of people and goods and the delivery of State services.

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