The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has launched an updated and personalized version of its ‘511’ travel information system, making it one of the most progressive 511 systems in the USA. The new ‘My MD 511 Direct’ upgrade now provides critical traffic, incident and travel time information directly to registered customers through emails and text messages, as well as the usual telephone and internet services. While some other states offer 511 traffic alerts by email and text, few offer both travel time and incident report alerts. The SHA direct messaging service will be especially helpful to drivers during holidays, major incidents and inclement weather.
Drivers can register for the personalized service through the SHA’s website and create their profile to include pre-determined trips and routes, such as ‘Home to Work’. Users can then select the type of message they require: travel time updates, incident reports, or both. Alerts can be scheduled to include individual days, weekdays or weekends, as well as specific times or a particular timeframe. Information on most major routes in the state will be available 365 days per year and 24 hours a day. The SHA awarded a five-year contract to Telvent to design, build, implement, operate, host and maintain Maryland’s state-wide 511 program in 2010.
Introducing the new service, SHA Administrator, Melinda B Peters, said, “We are committed to making travel more predictable. My MD511 Direct is a user-friendly convenience that can help more drivers ‘Know Before They Go,’ saving frustration, time, money and gas. With critical travel information now available by text and email, it’s a good time to remind everyone that it is against the law to use hand-held phones while driving. Please use 511 safely.” For drivers using mobile devices or cell phones, the SHA recommends that they use free text and email ‘reading’ audio applications, which are available through third-party vendors.
4 September 2012
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