In Virginia, an evaluation of 511 services indicated 90 percent of callers found the service useful, and nearly half adjusted their travel plans based on the information provided.
Made Public Date


United States

511 Virginia Evaluation

Summary Information

This report incorporated multiple studies with data sources including focus groups, web survey, phone survey, awareness survey, and phone and website data analysis. The purpose of these studies was to identify the awareness, usage and customer satisfaction related to Virginia’s 511 phone and website service. Overall, the report found that awareness of the Virginia 511 service was higher than the national average of 511awareness and the majority of those who utilized Virginia 511 were satisfied to very satisfied with the service.


Two focus groups including residents, tourists (nonresidents), and commercial vehicle operators were conducted over a six week period. An aggregate summary of these focus groups reveals that 14 of 41 (34 percent) participants had heard of Virginia 511 and only 4 of 41 (10 percent) of participants had used Virginia 511. Specifically, 10 of 21 (48 percent) of residents, 0 of 8 (0 percent) of tourists, and 4 of 12 (33 percent) commercial vehicle operators had heard of Virginia 511. The most common cited means of awareness was road signage.


A link to the web survey was placed on the 511Virginia website for a duration of six months. The survey was only accessible online. There were 108 respondents.

The survey found that 47 percent of respondents were first time users. Seventy-one percent of respondents indicated that they accessed the site at that time for current travel conditions. Sixty-nine percent of respondents claimed they were likely to revisit the site on a regular basis, while 63 percent of respondents were satisfied with the 511 Virginia homepage and 58 percent were satisfied with the Travel Conditions page. Online search engines and links from other websites were the most commonly cited source of awareness (39 percent) and television advertisements were second (14 percent).


Survey participants were recruited through the 511 phone service using an automated option to leave contact information. 400 participants completed the survey. Of the 400 participants, 19 were commercial vehicle operators, 227 residents and 154 tourists. Overall 358 of 395 (90 percent) respondents found the phone service useful. Fifty-six percent of the participants cited road signage as the primary source of awareness. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated they had changed their travel plans due to information obtained through the 511 system.


Data for the awareness survey analysis were collected using the 2003 Quality of Life in Virginia Survey. The 2003 Quality of Life Survey was a statewide omnibus survey using a stratified disproportionate sampling design for the 2003. Four questions regarding the Virginia 511 service were added to the survey, which received 1,099 responses, providing a representative sample of adult respondents in households across Virginia with a margin of error of ±3.0 percent at the 95
percent level of confidence. The survey found that 139 individuals were aware of the service and 7 percent (10 individuals) of those, had used the service. The data was also aggregated by 511-service coverage area and outside coverage area. These results found that 385 survey participants lived within the service coverage area, which was a sufficient sample size to represent the coverage area at a 5 percent acceptable error rate. Within the 511 coverage area 19 percent of respondents (73 individuals) had heard of the service and 8 percent (or 6 individuals) of those had used the service.


The final evaluation included in this study was completed using data collected from two programs that monitored phone service and website service activity. An analysis of the phone data found that the Virginia 511 penetration rate was 7.3 percent. This rate was calculated by dividing the number of calls to 511 Virginia originating from within-state during one year divided by the census population of age 16 to 85. The website analysis found that 7.4 percent of all hits were return visits. The website averaged approximately 6,523 per month and the phone service averaged approximately 11,700 calls per month in the 18 months between February 2002 and August 2003.

The results of these studies are summarized in the table below:

Data Source
Sample Size
Customer Satisfaction
Focus GroupCommercial Vehicle Operators12 participants33 percent (4 participants)0 percent ( 0 of 4 participants) have used serviceN/A
Focus GroupTourists8 participants0 percent (0 participants)N/AN/A
Focus GroupVirginia Residents21 participants48 percent (10 participants)40 percent (4 of 10 participants) have used serviceN/A
Web Survey511 Virginia Website Users108 respondentsN/A69 percent (75 respondents) likely to revisit on regular basis63 percent (68 respondents) were satisfied
Phone Survey(Commercial Vehicle Operators), (Tourist), Virginia (Residents)(19 CVO participants), (154 Tourist participants), (227 Resident participants)N/AAggregate for CVO, tourists, and residents: 99 percent (397/400) would call the service againAggregate for CVO, tourists, and residents: 24 percent (95/395) found service somewhat useful, 66 percent (260/395) found service very useful
Awareness SurveyVirginia Coverage Area Residents385 participants19 percent (73 participants)8 percent (6 of 73 participants)N/A
Awareness SurveyVirginia Residents1,099 participants13 percent (139 participants)7 percent (10 of 139 participants)N/A
Data Analysis Report511 Virginia Phone Service Users210,052 callsN/A210,052 calls over 18 month periodN/A
Data Analysis Report511 Virginia Website Users117,420 visitsN/A117,420 visits over 18 month periodN/A