The dynamic needs of those who live and work in the Bay Area calls for a transportation information resource that is flexible and responsive. For years, 511 has been committed to delivering that resource and evolving with changing technology and consumer trends. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), who locally manages the 511 system, has recently fine-tuned their vehicle of information. The Bay Area's award-winning 511 service is a one-stop phone and web source for up-to-the-minute traffic, transit, carpool, bicycling, and parking information. The service is free of charge and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere in the nine-county Bay Area. To access 511 services, simply call 511 or visit 511.org.
The new 511 phone and 511.org website services launched on August 19, 2019. Usage trends and surveys show that Bay Area travelers are turning to a variety of sources to get around. Depending on their travel needs, commuters are increasingly using transit agency or private sector web sites and apps for trip planning, real-time transit information, and transit schedules. In response, the 511 system has removed these features from the new version of 511.org in favor of focusing on a wide range of Bay Area-specific alerts and information for commuters.
Although 511 does not have their own app, their site is what is considered 'mobile responsive' which means it can be viewed on a variety of devices without distortion such as a mobile phone or tablet. The 511 system also provides callers with important traveler information and free transfers to 511 Freeway Assist, Clipper(R), FasTrak(R), public transit and paratransit agency call centers, and more.
A quick tour of the home page shows you the resources available to Hacienda employees and residents. For example, select "Map Options" on the interactive map to see traffic speeds, incidents, and construction, along with transit stops, park-and-ride locations, and bikeshare stations, among other useful information.
Hundreds of employees drive to Hacienda alone every day. That many seats headed in the same direction combined with opportunities to pass traffic in managed lanes makes ridesharing an excellent commute option for Hacienda employees. Vanpooling is ideal for those commuters who want more stability in their rideshare arrangement and go to or leave work at the same time each day and do not mind sharing a ride with others. 511.org has several options from simply matching your commute into a current vanpool, to connecting people starting up a new vanpool to the 'Commute with Enterprise' program that can offset costs of up to $350 per month, or offering discounted parking permits for qualified vanpools.
MTC created resources for commuters to get alerts, real time road conditions and traffic long before it was a task done through crowd-sourcing as is the case with some popular driving apps. The 511.org site receives and shares information received from state highway, transportation and construction agencies, such as CalTrans and the California Highway Patrol, into a cohesive, unified presentation. Alysha Nachtigall at MTC notes, "These government and transit agencies are the best at reliably reporting their delays and alerts in a timely manner to the public so our data reflects the most accurate conditions."
These integrative features are further enhanced by other information layers found on the site. These layers provide details on a variety of commute modes including resources for people ridesharing and bicycling. Details on important resources such as the RTC discount card and paratransit service information can be found here as well. The site also features important message and alert summaries from 511 as well as their partner agencies.
Although the Transit Tracker and transit agency schedules will no longer be found on 511.org , rest-assured that one can always find them within easy reach by dialing 5-1-1, which is a free call. 511 provides transportation information via a state-of-the-art speech recognition system that allows you to find what you need without pressing a button. Simply say "Departure Times," "Public Transportation," "Traffic Conditions," or "What are my choices?" to get started.
As a companion to the 511 system, be sure to also take advantage of Hacienda's Commuter Resource Center. You can start planning your ideal commute with Hacienda's customized Commuter Resource Center. This special online tool not only combines the latest information about commute modes you can use to take you from home to work, it will also tell you about the different programs available that will help make your commute more efficient, more productive and less expensive. Visit the tool at: www.hacienda.org/commuterresourcecenter.