511 travel information phone number will be deactivated May 19

(OLYMPIA)– On Friday, May 19, the Washington State Department of Transporation will deactivate the 511 phone number which provides automated statewide travel information. As announced last month, the number is being discontinued due to declining call volumes, the advancement of new technology and the cost to operate and maintain the system.

At the height of the program, 511 received more than 2.2 million calls a year. However, since 2009, call volumes have decreased 89%, according to a news release from WSDOT. The program also costs more than $150,000 a year to operate and requires staff time to update the travel information and maintain signs. Once discontinued, these resources will be reallocated to more efficient and emerging information technologies to better serve Washington travelers.

There are many resources available for timely and accurate travel information, including the WSDOT app, statewide travel maps, Twitter accounts, Facebook account, electronic highway variable message signs and highway advisory radio stations – as well as several third-party mapping apps for smartphones. Travelers without access to these technologies can call local WSDOT offices for assistance.