511 Service in USA and in San Francisco Bay Area: Service Model, Benefits and Beneficiaries

Petri Mononen

Research output: Book/ReportReport


This report looks into the background of the deployment of 511 transport information services in the US. The content of the 511 transport information service in San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) and the service network model applied with the SFBA 511 service in particular are described in this report. In the US, the three digit number 511 has been selected as a common brand for traffic and travelling related information. The US federal government provides several types of support and incentives for the states in order to facilitate the early stages in the deployment of 511 services. These means include e.g. assistance funding and various deployment and marketing support toolboxes. Currently 28 states have the service available either through the phone or the Internet or both. The SFBA 511-service covers different modes and is available both on the Internet and as a phone service. The service includes information on traffic, transit, bicycling and ridesharing. The service was one of the forerunners in the 511 implementation in the US, it is quite well known in the area and is well appreciated by its users. About 90% of existing users are very or somewhat satisfied with the services. Today the service generates around 500 000 phone calls and over 2 000 000 web-sessions per month. The SFBA 511 is facilitated by a partnership of public agencies led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the California Highway Patrol, and the California Department of Transportation. The SFBA 511 services are based on public sector funding. The annual operational budget is about $6.2 million. The public partners include the aforementioned agencies, congestion management agencies and emergency response services. The private partners include a system manager contractor, companies supplementing public agency data collection efforts, local media and various information service providers. This report concludes that it is sensible that the secondary beneficiaries, i.e. the public actors pay the majority or all of the costs regarding the deployment, operation and maintenance of travel information services. This conclusion is backed by evidence on the fact that in general travellers are not willing to pay very much for travel information services like the 511.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages51
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7157-4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesVTT Working Papers


  • 511
  • transport information
  • service
  • service model
  • benefits
  • evaluation


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