The state Department of Transportation recently upgraded its 511 service. The travel information system now features a female voice. Other upgrades (ahem) include better voice recognition so callers can speak their menu choices rather than hunting for the key — a good addition for tougher distracted driving laws coming later this month.
Travelers can call 511 to learn about statewide traffic incidents, mountain pass conditions, express lane status and statewide emergency messages. There also are links to the Washington State Ferries reservation system, with details about schedules, fares and wait times.
Online, you can find much of the same information at www.wsdot.com/traffic.
About 850,000 calls are made to 511 each year.
Cellphone users near the Oregon border might pick up Oregon’s service instead. A direct line to Washington 511 is 800-695-7623 (ROAD).