Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

November 25, 2012

Dial 511

Travel information available in Md., W.Va.

Signs are going up along West Virginia highways publicizing the state’s new 511 travel information system.

By dialing 511, travelers can check for potential traffic issues before they leave. The service has up-to-date information about accidents, road construction and other events that affect traffic across the state.

Maryland has been using 511 since late 2011. Maryland’s service features traffic conditions; live traffic camera feeds; highway incident and construction updates; weather conditions, and message sign status.

Menu choices available to Maryland callers include information about public transportation, tourism and other state agencies. Choosing tourism, for example, the caller is connected to a state Office of Tourism employee for information about Western Maryland events and attractions. For airport travelers, information about flights, airport conditions and the like is available for BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport.

 Information is available by the following districts: Western Maryland, the Eastern Shore, Capital/Southern Maryland, Baltimore/Northern Maryland, and Reach the Beach. Nearly all states now have a 511 system or similar traveler assistance service. As 511 use broadens, other services are expected to be available to callers.

West Virginia’s 511 service was launched this month. As word spreads about its availability, it should become a reliable resource for travelers who want to avoid highway trouble and know what to expect on their travels through the state.

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