The dynamic needs of those who live and work in the Bay Area call for a transportation information resource that is flexible and reliable. For years, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC’s) 511 service has delivered that resource and evolved with changing technology and consumer trends. The award-winning 511 service is a one-stop phone and web resource for up-to-the-minute traffic, transit, carpool,vanpool, and bicycling information. The service is free of charge and is available 24 hours a day,seven days a week from anywhere in the nine-county Bay Area. To access 511’s traveler information, simply call 511 or visit 511.org.
Although 511 does not have an app, their website is 'mobile responsive' which means it can be viewed on a variety of devices such as a smartphone or tablet. The 511 phone service also provides callers with important traveler information and free transfers to Freeway Assist, Clipper(R), FasTrak(R), public transit and paratransit agency call centers, and more.
A quick tour of the 511.org 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 ‘s 511 service provided resources for commuters to get alerts, real time road conditions, and traffic information long before it was a task done through crowd-sourcing as is the case with some popular driving apps. The 511.org website integrates 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 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 informational map layers found on the site. These map layers provide details on a variety of commute modes including resources for people carpooling and bicycling. The website also provides details on important resources such as the RTC discount card and paratransit service information. The site also features important message and alert summaries from 511 as well as their partner agencies.
Bay Area traveler resources are 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 service, 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.