In the coming days, many West Virginia families will pack up the car to visit family and friends for the holidays. It’s the most anticipated trip of the year-the kids will get new toys, grandma will make her old fashioned griddle cakes for breakfast, and everyone will bundle up to go sledding. This year, as you prepare for your annual trip, I encourage you to check out West Virginia’s new 511 Traveler Information System, which I launched last week.
As many folks in Kanawha County learned after a recent gas line fire melted portions of I-77, you can dial 511 to receive free, real-time traffic information regarding our interstates, U.S. routes and other major highways. From congestion and road closures to construction, road conditions, severe weather and more, 511 can help you travel safely and on time.
In addition to calling 511, you can log onto www.wv511.org to access traffic cameras from throughout the state, as well as an interactive map of traffic and weather conditions. I’m proud to say the system also offers a hands-free WV511 Drive Safe Application for Android and iPhone devices, making it easy to obey the distracted driving law, passed earlier this year. Downloading this free app allows your smartphone to recognize your location and direction; so that it can give you voice commands of traffic alerts during your travels.
Providing up-to-date traffic information around the clock is no small task. Reports from West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) personnel, emergency responders, State Police, Courtesy Patrol drivers, roadway sensors and traffic cameras are collected by operators in the WVDOT Transportation Management Center. The operators then input the information into the WV 511 system as well as electronic boards along highways, the WV511 Drive Safe App and Twitter.
West Virginia joins a number of other states using the 511 Traveler Information System. While it has taken some time to get our system up and running, I’m proud of everyone who has worked hard so we can provide travelers with real-time traffic information, quickly and easily. As you wrap the last few presents, plan your route and pack your suitcases, be sure to check out 511 so you can “Know Before You Go.”
From our family to yours, Joanne and I wish you a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and safe travels-wherever the road may lead you.