511 Traffic Information System for Central Expressway Corridor in the Works

System that provides information online, by phone will be up for testing by end of month

Drivers who use Central Expressway in Collin and Dallas counties will soon have a new source of traffic information.

The 511 system will provide information by telephone and on the Web. The system will be up by the end of April for several months of live testing, with a big promotion to come this summer.

The system is a joint project of several cities and transportation agencies that are combining their information for the first time.

"The idea of pulling it all together at one location is new," said Mark Ball, Dallas Area Rapid Transit spokesman.

"It started in San Diego recently; the Dallas-Fort Worth area would be the second one," he said. "Our goal, of course, is to make this such an important point for the public to take advantage of that we'd see it grow and become a bigger regional program."

Initially, the information will focus on the Central Expressway corridor and provide drivers with accurate, real-time information to help them choose alternate routes, which may include the feeder road, surface streets, toll roads or DART rail.

"Compared to a number of other roads, you can't find these unique things like you can on this piece of Central Expressway," Ball said.

A study suggests saving fuel, time and pollution expense in North Texas could be 20 times more than the $8 million being invested to start the 511 program.

"Pollution is a problem for this area," Ball said. "If we don't do something about cleaning it up, we lose federal funds, so here is the perfect opportunity where groups are working together to solve that problem."

More: 511 DFW website

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