The Folks at LA SAFE – the Los Angeles County Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies – have been working on Southern California’s own 511 traveler information service. Today, they’re offering a debut of a beta version of the new phone number and website to get public feedback before officially launching 511 next year. Check it out by calling 511 or visiting the web site at www.go511.com.
Yet another regional transportation site to keep track of, you ask? Well, actually, it’s a consolidation of only the most essential traveler services info for commuters in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties. The idea is to give them the most salient info that allows them to make smart traveling decisions.
One of the most useful 511 features is real-time traffic information. The system provides freeway traffic speeds, travel times and construction detours that are updated every minute. Users can also view traffic cameras in real-time. The question, of course, for users is exactly how real-time the data really is; most traffic websites in So Cal take a few minutes to show changing freeway speeds.
There is also information on the website on nearby transit services and bus and train schedules for 60 agencies, as well as help finding carpools, vanpools and park-and-ride lots. The 511 trip planner can be used to find the best transit route for your trip on www.Go511.com. In one quick experiment, it provided a different and faster recommendation than Google Transit for a Monday morning trip from Pasadena to downtown L.A.
In January, it will be possible to call 511 and use either keypad or voice commands to get the same information. make their choices verbally, as 511 utilizes voice recognition. The phone service is only available in English at present but soon will be available in Spanish.
For an FAQ on the program, click here.