The holiday travel season is just around the corner and motorists are being reminded to check road conditions before getting behind the wheel. The state operates a website, www.511ia.org, that describes roads that may be wet, partially to completely covered with ice and snow, or closed.
Sinclair Stolle is in charge of the 5-1-1 system for the Iowa Department of Transportation. “We also have a mobile version, which is mainly text-based information,” Stolle said. The website has become a popular tool for motorists looking to avoid dangerous roadways during the winter months.
In 2010, the different versions of the website had six million visitors. Also last year, some 440,000 motorists in Iowa called 5-1-1 and learned about road conditions via an interactive voice system or use of the phone’s keypad.
“Our overall call lengths have gone down,” Stolle noted. “I think that’s good because people are getting the information and they aren’t on the phone as long, so if they’re driving, it’s a safety issue.”
The 5-1-1 traveler information system has been in place in Iowa for a decade. It’s in operation from mid-October through mid-April.