First launched by the Iowa Department of Transportation in 2002, Iowa 511 provides real-time information on road traffic conditions, accidents, road closures, road construction, weather conditions, and other information of interest to the public. As of 2015, the Iowa 511 system disseminates information to the public via phone service, websites, social networks, and mobile applications (apps). A study carried out by the Center for Transportation Research at Iowa State University assessed the Iowa 511 Traveler Information System using survey results and usage data for the 511 phone, websites, and mobile apps maintained by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). As part of the assessment, the public was surveyed to gain insight into the usage of Iowa 511 within the state and to analyze the system's effect on driver behavior and driving patterns.
An online survey questionnaire was delivered to current Iowa 511 users and Iowa DOT employees. Survey questions addressed the sources for obtaining information on road construction and closures, weather-related delays, and travel times/routes and also included questions regarding driving patterns and basic demographics. The survey was delivered via email and was posted on multiple online portals where results were collected from May 20, 2015 until June 15, 2015. In total, 362 respondents, of which 296 were Iowa DOT employees, completed the survey during this timeframe.
- About 78 percent (283/362) of survey respondents had used Iowa 511. Of those users, Iowa 511 had the most impact on their route choices and departure times:
- 66 percent (186/283) had changed the route for their trips.
- 63 percent (178/283) had changed their departure times.
- 49 percent (138/283) responded that Iowa 511 had helped them to better prepare for their trips.