Utah travelers now have
a new way to get traffic updates. The state debuted a voice-activated 511
travel service line on Monday. The 511 service uses voice recognition software
to retrieve and translate information from the Internet.
Using a cellular phone,
truckers and travelers alike, can keep up to date on travel and traffic conditions.
Using the spoken word, the service dispenses driving directions, weather reports,
sports scores, or any commonly sought information from the Internet.
Utah was one of six states
selected to launch a 511 service after the Federal Communications Commission
designated 511 as a nationwide number for travel information. The 511 systems
are a public service and are free. Utah has contracted with Tellme, a Mountain
View, CA-based company to run the service. Tellme is one of several free,
voice-activated services that use "voice portals" or voice-recognition
software to retrieve and translate information from the Internet.
Tellme launched a voice-activated
telephone service last summer. It allows people to call a toll-free number
and say one or two words to hear information on topics including stock quotes,
weather, movies and driving directions.
Current information on
Utah's system includes traffic congestion, construction and road closures
and hours of operation for public transit. The state hopes to include information
about Salt Lake International Airport, Greyhound Bus Lines and transit agencies
throughout the state.