Phone service provides commuters with real-time traffic updates, travel conditions and transportation information Albany, NY - Governor David A. Paterson recently announced the launch of 511 New York, a free and comprehensive system geared to meet the needs of commuters, long-distance and local travelers, tourists and commercial-vehicle operators. The service covers State highways and public transportation services and provides information about traffic incidents, roadway conditions, congestion, work zones, weather and planned events. "Making up-to-the-minute, multi-modal transportation information available to commuters, tourists and commercial drivers through this new 511 system strengthens our efforts to keep traffic flowing smoothly and people and goods moving efficiently throughout New York State," said Governor Paterson. "Travelers using any of our highways, buses, subways, commuter rails or airports will soon find 511 to be an indispensable service that uses state-of-the-art technology to help them travel with greater ease and safety." New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said: "The 511 system developed by the State Department of Transportation will be among the best traveler information systems in the country. With the enthusiastic, forward-looking support of Governor Paterson, we have brought a remarkable new service to the public that will help travelers avoid traffic congestion, alert motorists to emergency and weather-related road closures and facilitate trip planning for all types of transportation." Information about air, rail and bus transportation also is available to 511 New York users. In addition, the system promotes sustainability by providing information that expands transportation choices and encourages the use of more efficient methods of travel. Users can access a transit trip-planning feature, which includes schedules, routes, fares and park-and-ride locations; carpool, vanpool and rideshare referrals; and bicycling information. The system will also be a critical, single-point information source during transportation emergencies. "This program, which became available in the New York City metropolitan area in 2008, has already proven to be a huge success and I am confident that with a statewide expansion more and more New Yorkers will come to rely on it," added Governor Paterson. "I want to commend Governor Corzine for New Jersey's commitment to metropolitan 511 connectivity, Governor Rell for her ongoing efforts to develop a 511 system in Connecticut, and Governor Rendell for advancing a 511 system that is expected to be unveiled in Pennsylvania this summer." Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee said: "511 New York is an ideal merger of real-time information technologies and mobility. It is yet another step in a series of measures Governor Paterson and the state Department of Transportation have taken to bolster both the efficiency and safety of our roads, highways and rail lines." The 511 New York phone system detects a caller's location based upon the land-line being used or communications tower to which his or her cellular phone is connected. Callers are then routed to relevant travel information for their travel area. They can also survey multiple regions for traveler updates, request information about specific highways or access information about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), ridesharing opportunities, airports, bus, rail and other transit options. Information on traffic incidents will be updated in the system in less-than-a-minute intervals, while special events with transportation impacts will be updated as conditions warrant, and road construction and maintenance information will be updated as new work is started or completed. Winter roadway conditions will be updated frequently during periods of inclement weather. Phone users who are hearing impaired can call 711, the national three-digit number for access to the Telecommunication Relay Services, to access the 511 system. Speech-impaired callers can use 711 or the touch-tone system that 511 offers. Phone service is the latest development in a comprehensive 511 New York traveler information service crafted by NYSDOT. The TransAlert program was rolled out last year and provides travelers across the state with up-to-the-minute transportation information through short, electronic messages regarding significant travel disruptions, such as highway accidents or lane closures. Subscribers to the free service can receive TransAlert messages via email or text messages to their mobile communications device. The messages are created at NYSDOT's transportation management centers across the State. The 511 New York system also provides real-time travel information and links to regional transportation-related services on the web at http://www.511ny.org/. Trip information should not be accessed while driving, but could be monitored before leaving for a trip, during a stop or by a passenger. The 511 New York system was developed following federal guidelines. It is estimated that the federally funded service will cost approximately $2.5 million annually to operate and maintain. Federal regulation mandates that all states have a 511 system in place by 2010. Thirty-four states already have 511 services. For more information about 511 New York, visit http://www.511ny.org/faq.aspx.