New 511 site improvements with your comments in mind

511 logo and tag line blue jpeg fileGetting you there – that’s what we’re all about at the Iowa Department of Transportation. For nearly two decades, our online traveler information system, 511, has provided winter road conditions, summer construction detours, and general information about incidents or other diversions that impact travel both online and over the phone. Over the years the website has undergone many refinements and a recent update is making significant changes to make the 511 experience better based on input from users like you.

The new 511 website has been online, alongside the old version since January 2020. Sinclair Stolle, the Iowa DOT’s engineer in charge of 511, said, “We did a phased launched of the new version, giving users a chance to compare features between the two versions and give us feedback on what they liked or would like to have changed. Since 511 is used by other states, too, our vendor worked with us and the state DOTs in Minnesota and Idaho to gather feedback, refine existing options, and develop new features. With more than 200 comments, we identified trends and worked to improve those areas.”

Combined sites

Previously, 511 was divided into three websites, one for travelers, one for commercial vehicle drivers, and one for those with slower internet connections.

New site
Moving the information tray to the left side of the map was an update made to the new site because of user input.

The new 511 site uses an improved system of layers that allows you to choose what information to display or hide, eliminating the need for multiple 511 sites. The easier-to-use combined site contains all the same information in one location and is designed so that you can easily view the site no matter what device you're using.

Stolle said that along with popular features such as the existing Iowa DOT plow locations and cameras,  new features will be added soon including National Weather Service radar and six-hour weather forecast text on the road conditions layer. 

511 Screenshot - OneWeb Weather Forecast Oct 2020
National Weather Service six-hour weather forecasts will be added on the road conditions layer.

There are also additional features coming soon including:

  • Roadway weather information system (RWIS)/Aviation weather operation system (AWOS) layer that provides detailed weather information like surface temperature, surface condition, and precipitation. They are key details to help you determine if the roads might be icy.
  • “Your 511” personalized information will be updated to include favorite camera and notifications options.
  • You will be able to sign up on to receive a weekly “Construction Digest” email with details of active and upcoming construction events in pre-defined areas or major projects.
  • Better functionality for users with disabilities.

Stolle said, "The old 511 sites will remain active until sometime in early 2021. We are working now to update the Iowa 511 mobile app and expect to launch the new version of that in late fall 2021.”

Good job!

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