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January 2017
In this Issue
New Florida 511 Features: Waypoints, Incident Cameras and More |
Don’t Text and Drive! It’s the Law in Florida |
As Commute Times Grow, Let Florida 511 Help |
THE Official Source for Traffic and Travel Info | Thank you, Florida 511! |
Florida Events in January | 511 Photo of the Month
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New Florida 511 Features: Waypoints,
Incident Cameras and More

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recently introduced several enhancements to its Florida 511 Traveler Information System to help you avoid congestion and arrive safely and on time.

You now have the option of modifying your route on FL511.com by clicking and dragging any part of the route to a new roadway using a waypoint. You can use as many waypoints as needed to modify your route. With the addition of each waypoint, the system will recalculate your travel time, provide turn-by-turn directions and inform you of any incidents, construction or congestion.

Another new feature is the addition of camera images to incident alerts. When a crash, construction or congestion incident occurs, the system will search for nearby traffic cameras and include an image with the incident alert.

The system also now remembers the region you choose from the user options located above the main navigation on FL511.com. After registering your account, select Statewide, Central, Northeast, Panhandle, Southeast, Southwest or Tampa Bay. The system will save your preferred region even after you log out. You can easily change your selected region by choosing a new region from the drop-down list.

The new Drive Mode on the app provides notifications for congestion. If you see an exclamation point icon on the map, that means there is congestion in the area. On the website, congestion alerts with a new icon have been added to the map legend.

In the 511 phone system, personalization and improved voice recognition are recent major upgrades. You can now call 511 and ask for “Profile” to hear the current conditions for all your saved routes.

Know before you go and keep Florida moving with the new 511!

Keep checking the Florida 511 newsletter for tips and advice on how to use new features.

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Don’t Text and Drive! It’s the Law in Florida
FDOT’s “Put it Down” safe driving campaign logo

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) wants all drivers to start the new year safely with a reminder that State of Florida Statute 316.305 prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to send and receive text, email and instant messages.

Interacting with a handheld or in-vehicle communication system while behind the wheel is a source of distracted driving which places drivers and others at risk. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, distracted driving is any mental or physical activity that takes your focus off the task of driving. The three forms of driver distraction are visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking hands off the steering wheel) and cognitive (thinking about anything other than driving). Texting requires the driver to be engaged in all three forms, making it one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving.

Distracted drivers caused 45,740 crashes in Florida in 2015, according to annual traffic data published by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Those crashes resulted in 39,396 injuries and 214 fatalities.

Other types of distracted driving include grooming, eating, reaching to comfort a child in the back seat, interacting with passengers, attending to unsecured pets, watching an event outside of the vehicle, daydreaming and adjusting the controls of electronic devices such as a radio, GPS navigation unit, video player or air conditioner.

Statewide safe driving campaigns such as the DHSMV’s “Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel, Mind on Driving” and FDOT’s “Put it Down” provide firm reminders for avoiding distractions while driving. FDOT’s “Know Before You Go” slogan reminds drivers to access its Florida 511 Traveler Information System for real-time traffic information before getting behind the wheel via the free mobile app or by visiting FL511.com. FDOT also encourages having a passenger check the Florida 511 mobile app to avoid using a phone while driving.

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As Commute Times Grow, Let Florida 511 Help
Florida Classic

Average commute times continue to grow. The number of people who drive alone is rising. Carpooling has fallen to an all-time low.

Such is the state of traffic and congestion in Florida, according to recently released findings of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

FDOT offers the Florida 511 Traveler Information System to help drivers cope with congestion and arrive at their destinations safely and on time. The user-friendly system provides real-time traffic information via mobile apps, FL511.com or by calling 511 toll-free from any phone in Florida.

Tools to deal with traffic congestion remain vital to all motorists in Florida, where carpooling has dipped to 8.9 percent (slightly below the national average) while 79.7 percent of commuters drive alone (3.1 percentage points higher than the national average). 

Average commuting times have continued to increase and remain slightly above the national average at 27 minutes for a one-way trip. The number of commuters driving alone in Florida grew by more than 189,000 in 2015.

FDOT also addresses congestion through solutions that range from building new lanes to supporting connected vehicle initiatives that allow cars to receive information from the transportation infrastructure and communicate speeds and positions to other vehicles. FDOT has commuter assistance programs throughout the state that encourage people to carpool, vanpool, bike, walk and ride public bus or rail transportation systems to work. The department also continues to strengthen the Florida 511 system.

Florida 511 offers motorists several ways to stay updated about traffic conditions before turning on the ignition. From mapping a custom route to receiving real-time traffic alerts, Florida 511 is the state’s official source for traffic and travel information.

Commuters can learn of incidents and lane closures by checking the Florida 511 mobile app, which can be downloaded free from the Google Play or Apple App stores. The app also suggests alternate routes. Users also can visit FL511.com or one of more of the 13 statewide, regional or roadway-specific Twitter feeds (#FL511).

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THE Official Source for Traffic and Travel Info
Article 3 Image FDOT’s Regional Transportation Management Center in Fort Lauderdale monitors traffic on interstate highways, toll roads and major roadways in Southeast Florida

Why is the Florida 511 Traveler Information System the official source for traffic information in the state of Florida?

The Florida 511 Traveler Information System is a public service provided by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

FDOT Regional Transportation Management Centers (RTMC) across the state collect traffic data from a variety of official sources. These include FDOT traffic cameras, FDOT roadside sensors, Florida Highway Patrol, Road Rangers, HERE traffic data (source for traffic speeds and travel times) and Waze. RTMC operators use SunGuide® traffic management software to manage this information and share it through the Florida 511 mobile app, FL511.com website, 511 phone system and Twitter; and the dynamic message signs on Florida’s interstates, toll roads and other major roadways. From incident discovery to message distribution takes just a few minutes.

With the addition of weather alerts and weather forecasts to the Florida 511 website, you can now see official weather information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more information, visit FL511.com.

Keep Florida moving with the new Florida 511!

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Thank you, Florida 511!
See what some Florida 511 users have to say about us:

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  "Sending a shout out to the folks manning the Florida 511. Thank for keeping us informed and safe!"

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  Staci (West Palm)  
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  "Thanks to #FL511 for making traveling on roads during the holidays easy!"

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  Phillip (Orlando)
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  "Thanks Florida 511 for your great reporting on traffic updates."

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  Derek (Tampa)
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Florida Events in January

From pirate festivals to celebrating an acclaimed author, there is no shortage of things to do in Florida this January. If you’re hitting the road to attend a festival this month, check out the following events in the state and visit FL511.com before you get behind the wheel. It’s better to know before you go for a safe and on-time arrival.

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Jan 21 – 27
ZORA! Festival of the Arts and Humanities (Orlando)

The life of acclaimed author Zora Neale Hurston is celebrated with a weeklong festival in her hometown of Eatonville. The festival includes a downtown tour, movie screening of cult classic Stir Crazy and museum gallery reception. The Outdoor Festival of the Arts, the highlight of the festival from Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29, includes concerts, a marketplace and an international food court. For schedule and ticket information, visit zorafestival.org.
Jan 21 & 28
Gasparilla Pirate Fest (Tampa)

The annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest returns to Tampa in January. The Gasparilla Parade of Pirates runs the length of Bayshore Boulevard to downtown Tampa. It and culminates with the Gasparilla Flotilla, led by Jose Gaspar‘s pirate ship, entering the south end of Hillsborough Bay and docking at the Tampa Convention Center for a reenactment of the infamous pirate invasion and occupation of the city. The children’s parade is Saturday, January 21, and the main festival event is Saturday, January 28. For more information, visit gasparillapiratefest.com.
Jan 29
Miami Marathon

For the 15th consecutive year, the city of Miami will ring in the New Year with full- and half-marathon races. The full marathon begins and ends on Biscayne Blvd, and features 20 entertainment stations throughout the racecourse that traverses parts of downtown Miami and Miami Beach. Spectators can watch friends and family cross the finish line at the historic Bayfront Park. For more race information, visit themiamimarathon.com.
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January photo of the month
Camera icon 511 Photo of the Month

Miami SunGuide TMC
(Courtesy of FDOT District Six)

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