Monday, January 28, 2013

Call 511 and Get to Know Camille

We frequently get calls from motorists looking for information about traffic conditions on a particular freeway. We’re happy to provide it, but you can cut out the middleman/woman and access this information yourself using 511. 511 is a toll-free service that provides information about freeway conditions, including travel times, freeway speeds, SigAlerts and incidents. You can also get transit info, find a carpool or vanpool partner, and request motorist aid. 

All of this info is delivered by the relentlessly helpful, voice-activated Camille, whose unflappable manner and soothing voice seems to have a calming effect. She kind of sounds like your favorite aunt, the one who wears stylish but sensible shoes and always gives you good advice without being  preachy.  "Hang on," she says reassuringly, "and I'll get you the traffic report." Thanks, Camille!

If you’d rather get your traffic info online (no worries — Camille won't take it personally), you can access all the same data at, plus you can check out feeds from the Caltrans traffic cameras. 

Caltrans’ role in 511 is to provide the real-time traffic data to the system, which is collected by wire loops embedded in the freeway, and the aforementioned traffic cam feeds. Our partner agency, Metro, has a terrific post today in The Source about how 511 works. Well worth the click.