A U.S. DOT Model Deployment evaluation of the Arizona 511 telephone traveler information system found that more than 70 percent of users surveyed were satisfied with the enhanced content provided. Prior to the deployment, Arizona DOT (ADOT) operated 10-digit state-wide road conditions telephone information system termed VRAS (Voice Response Activated System). In March 2002, VRAS was converted to 511, allowing users to obtain highway and transit information using touch-tone menu selections. In December 2003, the enhanced version of the 511 system was deployed. The enhanced version included a redesigned telephone interface and voice recognition system, and provided new types of content including information on arterial streets, airports, weather, transit services, and local events. Some of these services were implemented in a phased manner during the first year of operations.
The one-year Model Deployment of the enhanced 511 system extended from December 2003 through December 2004. Technical performance data, 511 system usage data, and customer satisfaction surveys were used to evaluate system impacts. Usage was determined from computer log files of phone calls to the 511 system, and in the case of the baseline analysis, electronic phone bill records.
The following types of data were collected from the 511 system log files:
- Call volumes and patterns during several special events (e.g., wildfire, winter storm, the dynamic message sign (DMS) ad campaign, the one month conversion to the enhanced system).
- Call frequency.
- Call durations.
- Wire line vs. cell phone calls.
- Caller geographic location.
- Menu selections.
- Call transfers.
- System capacity.
- Unrecognized caller inputs.
In late October and early November 2004, about 9 months after the roll out of the enhanced 511 system, a percentage of calls into the 511 system were intercepted and callers were recruited to participate in a brief survey which was administered later in a separate call to users who agreed to be surveyed. Four hundred eleven (411) users of the 511 system were surveyed to gauge their satisfaction with the enhanced system and reaction to specific features.
On July 21, 2000, the Federal Communications Commission assigned 511 as the nationwide traveler information telephone number and granted responsibility for it to government transportation agencies. Since that time, approximately 27 statewide and regional 511 systems have been implemented throughout the United States. In 2002, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) jointly issued a request for proposals for participation in a national 511 Model Deployment. The Model Deployment was intended to demonstrate the benefits of 511 systems and generate lessons learned of use to other 511 deployers and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The 511 Model Deployment was awarded to an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT)-led coalition of transportation agencies in Arizona. This lesson is based on the FHWA evaluation of the Arizona 511 Model Deployment.
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