The Iowa State Patrol and Department of Transportation today rolled out a new travel information service you can access on the phone or via the Internet. You can access the new travel information system by dialing five-one-one. D-O-T spokesperson Dena Gray-Fisher says the new three-digit number is a quicker alternative to the old 800 number, and can be accessed almost anywhere in the state at no cost for users.She says you should still dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, 4-1-1 to get a phone number, but now you can dial 5-1-1 to get travel information. She says it’s part of national effort to get a uniform travel information system and cut down system that included 300 numbers for the various states. The new system is voice-activated and Gray-Fisher says it will give you more detailed reports than in the past. Here’s an example of what you might hear if you asked for travel conditions on a particular highway. Mike Jackson of the D-O-T’s research bureau says the reports can be updated every five minutes if new information is available.Jackson says the service will be free to most users, and will only cost you if you use a payphone. In addition to the five-one-one system phone system, the D-O-T is also updating its website to provide more detailed information on-line.
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