511 Traveler Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



Q: Who is in charge of 511?

A: The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) is in charge of Kansas 511, although there are many stakeholders, for example, the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Turnpike Authority, etc.

Q: How does the information from 511 differ from the travel information I get on the radio and television?

A: With 511, you can get much more route-specific information than you can get from a 30-second news broadcast, and you’ll be able to get the information whenever you need it, for where you need it. The weather information on 511 is travel-related and concerns the road’s surface and travel condition.

Q: How does the information available from 511 differ from the travel information I have received from the Kansas Road Condition Hotline (1-800-585-ROAD)?

A: With 511, you can get automated, near real time road condition, construction detour and travel weather information for the route(s) of your choice whenever you need it, for wherever you need it. Information on the Road Condition Hotline was provided regionally and was pre-recorded, so the information may or may not have been what you wanted. Also, the information was not as timely.

Q: Can I still call the Road Condition Hotline (1-800-585-ROAD)?

A: The Kansas 511 system has replaced the Road Condition Hotline. If you call the hotline number you will be automatically rolled to 511.

Q: Can I call 511 from a cell phone?

A: Yes—most wireless companies let you reach 511; however, there may be places where you experience poor reception which prevents access or a good connection to 511. For your safety, please don’t call 511 while you’re driving. If you have difficulty reaching 511 from your cell phone, try calling the alternate toll-free number, 1-866-511-5368. If you need additional assistance, you may contact the Kansas ATIS Coordinator at bblue@ksdot.org or at 785-291-3818 during KDOT business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday).

NOTE: KDOT reminds you not to call 511 on your cell phone while driving. For everyone's safety, we urge you to call before you travel or while stopped in a safe location.

Q: Can I call 511 from anywhere in Kansas?

A: Yes.

Q: How can I call the Kansas 511 System if I’m not in Kansas?

A: You can also call Kansas 511 from any landline or cellular phone from anywhere in the U.S. and Puerto Rico by calling 1-866-511-KDOT (5368).

Q: What do I do if I can’t reach 511?

A: Try calling the alternate toll-free number, 1-866-511-5368. It should work from anywhere in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. There could be several reasons why you might not reach 511:

  1. Your phone provider might not “recognize” 511 and you should contact the 511 Project Manager at KDOT (see contact information) so they can contact your phone company.
  2. If you’re using a cellular phone, you may have poor reception from a “no reception pocket.” Try calling from another location.
  3. If you are calling from a cellular phone and are close to the state borders, you may be routed to a cellular tower that is not programmed to the Kansas 511 System.

Q: If I want 511 in other states or locations, how do I get it?

A: You can access most state 511 systems by calling a toll free number like the Kansas 511 system. These numbers are available from the state departments of transportation and may be printed on state maps. The goal is to have traveler information in all states accessible by calling 511. This is what makes 511 a national system—every state’s travel information number would be 511 and travelers can easily access information as they travel from state to state. Of course, if you are in other states and call “511” you will reach the local 511 service.

Q: What other states have 511

A: As of September 2007, there are 34 active 511 systems in 31 states (27 statewide systems and 7 regional or metro systems) as shown below.

511 Deployment Status Nationwide

Q: If I call 511 in other locations (states), will it be the same as in Kansas?

A: It might be different. The intent is for all 511 systems to provide similar types of information; however, there may be some differences in system design. In some states, the system will be very similar to Kansas 511, such as in Nebraska, because the systems were built by the same company.

Q: How often is the system information updated?

A: The system checks for updates every five minutes. Updated information is processed for broadcast to 511 within 5-10 minutes.

Q: What highway routes does 511 provide information for?

A: 511 provides information for all Interstate, US and State Highways (K Routes) in the Kansas State Highway System, as well as all Kansas Turnpike routes. For longer routes, information is provided in segments of about 60 miles each.

Q: Why isn’t construction/detour information provided on 511?

A: It is; however, you need to listen to the full report provided for the route/segment you choose. The route/segment “reports” you hear will provide road condition information, followed by construction/detour (if any occurs within the segment), followed by weather/forecast information.

Q: During storms, why does 511 only provide information about routes affected by the storm?

A: During major storms, storm advisories may be placed on 511 to provide you quick information about those routes affected by the storm. When this occurs, you must listen to the advisory and cannot interrupt it. If you want to get complete information for any route, stay on the line and you can choose the route and segment you want by following the menu.

Q: Why doesn’t 511 understand what I say?

A: The Kansas 511 system is very sensitive to background noise that may cause it not to recognize what you tell it. If you have this difficulty, we recommend that you use keypad commands. KDOT is aware of this issue and is working to improve it. We appreciate your patience.

Sometimes you may hear “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you” for other reasons. The 511 system is set so you have to respond to the menu prompt in a certain amount of time. If you do not respond in the time allowed, the voice will say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you” to let you know it did not receive your selection. You may also hear this message if the system does not recognize your selection. If the system does not prompt you to select again, say “Back” and it will take you back to your last menu selection to repeat your request.

Q: Why doesn’t someone contact me the same day when I leave a comment?

A: Your comments are recorded and sent to KDOT the following morning. After that, we try to return calls as soon as possible. If a large number of comments have been received, it may take a few days.

Q: I’m hearing impaired. How can I get 511 information?

A: Call 711 and the 711 relay operator will assist you. You can also get information provided on 511 at the 511 website (http://www.kandrive.org/kandrive).

511 Traveler Information