DOT offers free service to help motorists save time, money

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Contributed - S.C. Department of Transportation

Labor Day Weekend travelers are reminded to use the South Carolina Department of Transportation's (SCDOT) free 511 Traveler Information System, which provides traffic camera images, travel time estimates and other technological tools to help motorists navigate South Carolina's roadways.

The web address is www.511sc.org.

There is also a free 511 app available. Links to download the applications are on the 511 website under "Extras" and "511 Tools." Do not use these applications while you are driving. Be safe and either pull over or have a passenger access while in a motor vehicle.

Features of South Carolina's 511 System include an interactive map showing locations of traffic incidents and construction projects; average speeds of traffic; weather information; and twitter accounts to provide users with real-time important travel information.

"An informed motorist can avoid problem areas and not only make their trip better and use less fuel, but help lessen overall traffic congestion," said SCDOT Director of Traffic Engineering Tony Sheppard.

The 511 system provides real-time traffic information on all South Carolina Interstate highways and major highways along the coast. The statewide system provides information on construction projects, lane closures, crashes, congestion and severe weather affecting traffic.

SCDOT's 511 system operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be accessed by computer, telephone, smartphone or tablet.

"Reach the Beach"

Now available is a new application called "Reach the Beach," providing travel time reports for the following destinations: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, and Hilton Head; or travel time reports for your route home.

When using an iPhone or Android Smartphone application, selecting an inland icon (beach ball) or a (palm tree) on the map, will display a list of destinations. Inland icons lead to beach destinations, and beach icons lead to inland destinations. Each destination has one or more routes available, along with the current travel time. Upon making a selection, the route will be highlighted on the map. More information on Reach the Beach is available at the 511 website.

Web Site

The web address is www.511sc.org, which can also be accessed from SCDOT's home page, www.scdot.org.

More than 350,000 people have used the 511 website in the past 14 months, Sheppard said.

The site shows a South Carolina map with icons such as orange cones indicating highway construction sites; red triangles indicating traffic incidents; cameras to display real-time images; message signs that show what overhead, variable and dynamic messages are being shown to motorists; highway advisory radio messages; weather-related closures and other events. The map also displays traffic speeds of interstate highway and local roads; weather information, provided by the National Weather Service.

Telephone

The 511 telephone service is an interactive, voice-activated roadway and traffic information system accessed by calling 511 from your home, office, or cell phone.

To stay safe on our highways, SCDOT advises users to make 511 calls before getting on the road, have a non-driver in the vehicle make the calls or pull over in a safe place before making calls.

The interactive telephone system has more choices for the user so information can be limited to a motorist's travel route. Information by telephone includes travel times, average speeds of traffic, distance between segments and weather forecasts.

Smartphone Application

SCDOT has a 511 smartphone application to meet the growing trend of information on mobile devices. Currently, the applications work on phones and tablets that operate on the iPhone and Android platforms. These applications will notify users of incidents and construction on their predetermined route. You can also see traffic cameras. Links to download the applications are on the 511 website under "Extras" and "511 Tools." Do not use these applications while you are driving. Be safe and either pull over or have a passenger access while in a motor vehicle.

Twitter

The social media site twitter is another way for users of the 511 system to learn of real-time incidents and construction. The Twitter links are broken down into four geographic regions of the state:

‏@SCDOTMidlands

‏@SCDOTPiedmont

@SCDOTLowCountry

@SCDOTPeeDee