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Agile Computing Authors: Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Greg Dickinson, Eric Aarrestad, Pat Romanski

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Bay Area’s 511 Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary

During today’s harried, fast-paced life, it’s easy to forget that some things actually do get easier. One such thing is finding your way around the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, which has been become much simpler thanks to 511, the region’s award-winning traveler information service. 511 is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month as the one-stop source for up-to-the minute transportation information for Bay Area residents and visitors.

“For the past ten years, 511 has provided a unique and valuable service for the Bay Area,” said Adrienne Tissier, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). “It has helped millions of residents and visitors navigate our busy highways and bike lanes, utilize our various transit services, and find greener commutes to work.”

On average, 511 receives more than 4 million monthly phone and web requests and more than 1,900 calls connecting users with non-emergency freeway towing services. A total of 45,000 people use 511’s carpool and vanpool ridematch database services, more than 75,000 people have downloaded the 511 SF Bay Transit app to their smartphones, and more than 11,000 people follow 511 SF Bay on Twitter.

Established and managed by MTC, 511 is a partnership with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the transit and transportation agencies of the Bay Area. These agencies have worked cooperatively to spearhead this consumer resource for transportation information, which has been recognized nationally as a leader among 40 such services throughout the U.S. 511 has been nationally recognized by and received awards from numerous organizations including the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), the Intelligent Transportation Society of California (ITS CA) and Government Computer News.

511 continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing and varied ways people receive information by adapting to technology trends. In addition to providing services via the phone and web, people may also receive information via text, a mobile site, and most recently through a smartphone app. 511 also provides personalized traffic and transit information through MY 511.

“This year 511 was proud to launch its first smartphone app,” said Tissier. “Transit users can now use their smartphones to plan their trips on more than 30 Bay Area transit agencies.”

511 also serves as the one-stop source for transportation information during emergencies, as well as planned events, including the America’s Cup and Fleet Week and major freeway or bridge closures, such as the recent Bay Bridge and Dumbarton bridge construction projects, by providing information on traffic, alternate routes and detours.

511’s tools and features include a transit trip planner, real-time transit information, up-to-the minute traffic information, carpool and vanpool formation services and parking information. Operators are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for assistance. For more information call 511 or visit 511.org or m.511.org.

About 511

511 is a one-stop phone and web source for up-to-the-minute Bay Area traffic, transit, rideshare, bicycling and parking information. It’s free of charge and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in the nine-county Bay Area. Call 511 or visit 511.org. 511 is managed by a partnership of public agencies led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the California Highway Patrol, and the California Department of Transportation.

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