DENVER — Motorists now have telephone access to real-time traffic reports as part of a new service available through SmartRoute Systems and Verizon Wireless. Along with the traffic reports, the Colorado Department of Transportation has expanded its road and weather hotline to include highway construction schedules for roads throughout Colorado.
Cellular telephone callers using Verizon Wireless (formerly Airtouch Cellular) can access all of the services with a free call by pressing #211.
"With traffic congestion on the increase, Verizon Wireless is pleased to provide a tool to Colorado customers to help them find an alternative route quickly," said Marni Walden, branch director for Verizon Wireless in Colorado. "#211 gives customers up-to-the-minute traffic information right at their fingertips."
The expanded services are also available by dialing CDOT's hotline, (303) 639-1111, in the Denver area or toll free (877) 315-7623 elsewhere in the state. This will link callers to the CDOT statewide road reports or to the SmarTraveler information service for the Denver/Front Range area. Through SmarTraveler, callers will be able to get real-time, route specific information by selecting a route number from a menu.
CDOT's road reports are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SmarTraveler operates weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. SmarTraveler will operate extended hours over the Memorial Day weekend.
Callers will also have access to information about Denver International Airport, Amtrak and RTD Bus and Light Rail.
"Real-time traffic information for callers will be generated from the SmarTraveler Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, said Steve Kuciemba of SmartRoute Systems, which provides the SmarTraveler service. SmartRoute is a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin in the Colorado Traffic Management Center.
Routes in the Denver area covered by SmarTraveler include I-25, I-70, I-225, I-270, I-76, US 6, US 36 (Boulder Turnpike), US 85 (Santa Fe Drive), US 285, CO 58, CO 83 (Parker Road) and Pena Boulevard. For real-time traffic reports for those corridors, callers simply have to select the highway number followed by the star symbol.
Information for the traffic reports comes from SmarTraveler's own airplane, law enforcement agencies and road reporters that report traffic conditions to SmarTraveler operators directly.
Callers will be able to obtain CDOT's statewide road and weather condition reports as they have in the past, but now CDOT is adding highway construction information to the service. The CDOT reports are available by pressing "1-star", while pressing "2-star" accesses the SmarTraveler reports.
"Because of bonding, CDOT will have a record number of highway construction projects active this summer and the number will continue to grow," said CDOT executive director Tom Norton. "It's critical that we provide accurate construction information to drivers so they can plan alternate routes or allow extra travel time. Combining forces with Verizon and Smart Route allows us to provide this expanded information."
SmarTraveler's IVR system is one of many Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) tools CDOT is using to ease traffic congestion and inform Colorado motorists of highway conditions.
"We are very excited about this new opportunity with Colorado DOT that brings the SmarTraveler information service to increasingly more Colorado residents and visitors," said SmartRoute Systems CEO Arnie Sheiffer.
SmartRoute also offers real-time traffic information on the Internet at www.smartroute.com.
Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, SmartRoute Systems provides traffic and related traveler information services to consumers in the home, office and vehicle. The company provides a range of traveler information services under the "SmarTraveler" brand name in metropolitan areas across the country, including Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, DC, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 18 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless company was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and Vodafone AirTouch Plc.