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Since 2000, when the U.S. Federal Communications Commission designated“511” for use by state transportation departments, at least 32 serviceshave been launched offering up-to-the-minute information on transitschedules and traffic by dialling 511.

Since 2000, when the U.S. Federal Communications Commission designated “511” for use by state transportation departments, at least 32 services have been launched offering up-to-the-minute information on transit schedules and traffic by dialling 511.
One of the most comprehensive was begun in 2002 by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, serving a population of 7 million in nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It gets 100,000 calls and 500,000 hits on its 511.org website weekly. The toll-free calls are largely from drivers checking on freeway traffic, while Internet users are most often planning a trip via public transit.
The service takes in eight primary transit systems that together cover an area of about 11,000 square kilometres. It allows drivers to personalize requests; for example to get a daily email alert on driving conditions on their route to work. That feature will soon extend to transit.
Environment Canada said nearly two years ago it would have a 511 line in place for weather and travel information by 2007. It has yet to materialize.
In January, Nova Scotia launched a 511 system for highway conditions.
Here, a system with real-time schedule, fare and travel information is at least a couple of years away.

 
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