511 provides local assistance
San Diego residents utilized the 511 phone system at record levels during the October wildfires. 511 is a free phone and Web service that consolidates the region's transportation information into a one-stop resource. Merging transportation and technology, 511 puts a wealth of free, travel-related information at your fingertips - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
During the devestating fires, the 511 phone system received more than 87,500 calls between Monday, October 22 and Thursday, October 25 (previous weekly average — 11,000 calls). The 511 Web site received more than 38,000 visitors
During this time of record usage, area residents relied on the 511 phone system to navigate San Diego freeways, avoid road closures, and get safely to evacuation centers. Fire update information was recorded to the 511 phone system and breaking news information was posted on www.511sd.com to direct users to the latest road information.
County Supervisor Ron Roberts announced the 511 number at the daily firestorm news briefings as the number to call for traffic and transportation information. News organizations included the 511 number on their scrolling news tickers. 211 Emergency operators referred callers looking for traffic and road closure information to 511.
511 proved to be a good resource for information during the emergency. SANDAG is evaluating the system performance and will make recommendations for how the system could be more effectively used in emergency situations in the future. Access the service by dialing 511 from any phone or on the Web at www.511sd.com.