Most Iowans have long-ago mastered dialing 4-1-1 for phone numbers and 9-1-1 in an emergency. Now, a new three-digit number is being developed that will eventually provide a variety of travel-related information by dialing 5-1-1. John Whited is the Iowa D-O-T’s program manager for advanced technology. He says the number would provide weather and road reports, construction and detour information and eventually would include transit schedules and tourist information like hotels and events. Whited says Iowa’s working with six other states to create the new system.It will be a year or two before any of the system components will be available here. Nebraska is already using a 5-1-1 system for weather and road reports. Whited says the Iowa D-O-T will make an announcement when the system is ready in our state.Thanks to a 700-thousand dollar grant from the Federal Highway Administration, Iowa is developing the system along with Alaska, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Vermont.
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