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WV 511 Traveler Information System Frequently Asked Questions

The West Virginia Department of Transportation's free 511 Traveler Information System provides real-time traffic information, including congestion, construction, lane closures, road conditions and severe weather information on all West Virginia interstates and other major highways. The resource is available 24 hours a day via phone by dialing 511 or online at WV511.org. WV 511 advisories also are available from the WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app and via statewide, regional and roadway-specific Twitter feeds. The WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app is available for iPhone and Android smartphones at WV511.org/NetworkCoverage/usingApp.aspx, and the WV 511 Twitter feeds are available at WV511.org/twitter/default.aspx. Travelers may also now sign up to subscribe to receive email or text alerts for areas of interest, along with days and times to receive theses email alerts.

West Virginia 511 Traveler Information System gives real-time travel reports on all West Virginia interstates. The statewide system provides information on construction, lane closures, crashes, congestion and severe weather affecting traffic. WV 511 also can transfer travelers to available 511 systems in neighboring states.

West Virginia 511 covers all interstates and major roadways in the state.

No, WV511 is a free resource to the public provided by the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Users can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to hear up-to-the-minute traveler information. However, mobile phone users should be aware that normal minute, text message and data charges may apply.

When you are inside West Virginia, dial 511 from a mobile phone or land line. If you are located outside West Virginia, or are unable to connect while dialing 511, the service may also be reached by dialing 1-855-699-8511. The call is free, although standard mobile phone minutes may apply.

The majority of the daily incidents reported to the West Virginia Department of Transportation come through 911 calls. WVDOT has also deployed intelligent transportation technology on all of West Virginia's interstates and other major roadways. Traffic Management Centers (TMCs) collect information about roadway conditions and publishes the information to the WV 511 system. The data comes from sensors in and alongside the road, traffic surveillance cameras and reports from Courtesy Patrols, West Virginia State Police and local law enforcement.

Information is updated on an ongoing basis as incidents occur and situations change on roadways.

With WV 511, drivers can expect to receive considerably more route-specific information than what is heard in a 30-second traffic news report, and drivers will be able to access the information on demand, whenever they need it.

The public safety alerts carried on 511 are voluntary, cooperative partnerships among law enforcement, WVDOT, other agencies and local broadcasters. WVDOT uses overhead electronic message signs and 511 to get public safety alerts out to the public.

AMBER Alert is the name of the nation's child abduction alert system. AMBER stands for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response." It alerts the public when a child has been abducted and is believed to be in serious danger.

Silver Alerts notify the public and law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for missing adults or citizens with cognitive impairments. This program is especially targeted to protect adults with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

From WV511.org, drivers can view traffic camera images from around the state, consult regional maps, see special truck-related information, get more detailed information on roadway conditions and link directly to many 511 travel partners, including airports and tourism and transit agencies. From the website, visitors can also subscribe for email or text message updates to traffic events happening in areas they select. WV511.org provides direct links to download the WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app for iPhone and Android devices as well as links to all the WV 511 Twitter feeds.

It can take several minutes for accurate traffic incident information to be collected, verified and posted to the West Virginia 511 Traveler Information System. Much incident information is reported to Traffic Management Center (TMC) operators by West Virginia State Police, Courtesy Patrol or local law enforcement. TMC operators must collect and verify that information, often using WVDOT traffic surveillance cameras to visually inspect a crash scene. Once they have the information they need, it is entered into the WV 511 Traveler Information System to be added to the phone, website, mobile app and Twitter feed. This process can take several minutes from the time an incident is first identified to the time information about it is available on 511.

511 is the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) designated nationwide three-digit telephone number for traveler information. Established by the FCC in 1999, 511 was implemented in West Virginia in 2012.

WV511.org Website Frequently Asked Questions

WV 511 uses Google Maps on WV511.org with WV 511 traveler information added to them. You can zoom in or out of an area using the slider or zoom in (+) or zoom out (-) buttons on the right side of the map. You can pan (move the map) by clicking and dragging the map or by using the arrows in the bottom right corner of the map. Additional Google functions are available. The satellite view can be toggled on and off using the “Satellite” and “Map” buttons on the lower left side of the map. The "Pegman" icon on the lower right corner can be dragged on to the map to see Google's street view.

To view a specific region of West Virginia, click Map Views along the top of the page and select a region to see from the drop-down menu. To save your view, click the "Save Map View" button to store the settings and legend selections for easy access on your next visit.

The WV 511 map can show current traffic conditions, current and upcoming planned events (such as road or bridge construction or maintenance) and weather-related road conditions. The map also shows the location and information for traffic incidents, electronic roadway signs, traffic cameras and National Weather Service alerts and forecasts. You can select what information you would like shown on the map in the Legend on the left side of the screen.

In the traffic section of the Legend, you can select if you would like to see traffic speeds, roadway incidents, active planned events (such as road or bridge construction or maintenance), future planned events or current road conditions.

In the Signs /Cameras sections, you can choose to see the messages appearing on active roadway signs, and you can select to see roadway streaming cameras.

In the Weather section of the Legend, you can turn on or off National Weather Service Watches and Warnings, or view the 5-day weather forecast for each county across the state.

The Commercial section of the Legend provides choices for seeing information of special interest to truck drivers, such as steep grades and runaway truck ramp locations.

The Info section of the Legend offers selections that can show you where conveniences such as rest areas and welcome centers are located, as well as the location of toll booths on West Virginias Turnpike.

You can select the type of information or advisories you would like to see by checking or unchecking the box beside each.

traffic icon Traffic — Shows traffic speed information for roadways, provided by Google maps.
map traffic Green roadway coloring indicates traffic is fast, at or near posted levels. As the colors progress from orange to dark red, it indicates the speeds are progressively slower. A red dashed line and red circle with a horizonal white line indicates a road closure.
road conditions icon Road Conditions — Shows weather-related road conditions. Icons indicate varying degrees of driving conditions including:
Good - Roads are passable. Roads are mostly bare pavement and/or cleared from shoulder to shoulder with no visibility problems. Drivers may encounter sporadic icy patches.
Use Caution - Roads may be challenging even for vehicles properly equipped for winter driving. Moderate snow accumulation on roads: up to 3". Drivers may also encounter ice on the road and bridge decks, freezing rain, water on snow or ice. Moderate winds may be present along with blowing or drifting snow causing low visibility. A National Weather Service winter weather warning, watch, or advisory may be issued.
Hazardous - Travel is not advised. Road conditions are not suitable for travel. Road may be blocked or impassable due to considerable snow accumulation, freezing rain, ice glaze, or dense fog. High winds may be present, along with blowing and drifting snow causing low visibility or blizzard like conditions. A National Weather Service winter weather warning, watch or advisory may be issued.
Closed - Road is closed to travel.
Unreported - Road condition not currently being reported or updated.

The road condition data provided here by the WVDOH and partnering agencies reflect conditions along a segment of road at a specified time. These observations are not updated frequently due to limited personnel out on these highways, especially after normal business hours. The WVDOH recommends that you check a number of sources, including the National Weather Service reports, in making your travel plans. Also, these observations can vary greatly within an area and weather conditions can change quickly. For example, road conditions a few miles away from the observation site could be completely different. Therefore, this information should not be used as the only factor in determining whether to travel in a particular area.

Snowplowing, Cindering and Deicing: Listing of roadway snow and ice conditions is not a guarantee that WVDOH has plowed, sanded or cindered any or all locations for travelers either before or after the observations were made. The actual determination of the amount and timing of these services for any particular section of highway is up to the judgment of local road maintenance officials based on their experience and local conditions at particular times.

By clicking on these icons, you can get detailed information on the incident type and location.

Incidents - All shows the location of all traffic incidents that may affect travel speeds. Incidents by selected categories can be seen clicking on the appropriate legend item.

incidents icon View the location of incidents that have a partial roadway closure.
incidents FULL roadway icon View the location of incidents with a FULL roadway closure, but without a detour.
roadway closures icon View the location of roadway closures with a detour in place.
incidents that may affect travel speeds icon View the location of traffic incidents that may affect travel speeds that do not have a closure involved.
Active Planned Events icon Active Planned Events shows planned events currently underway such as roadway or bridge construction or maintenance.
Future Planned Events icon Future Planned Events shows upcoming planned events that are not currently underway such as roadway or bridge construction or maintenance.
Active Signs icon Active Signs shows locations of electronic roadway signs that currently have information displayed. By clicking on these icons, you can see what information currently is being displayed on the sign.
Inactive Signss icon Inactive Signs shows locations of electronic roadway signs that are not currently displaying information.
Camer icon Camera icon shows locations of traffic cameras. By clicking on these icons, you can see a live feed of the traffic camera. Note that where there are many cameras within a close proximity of each other, you will see a blue camera icon with a number on it, indicating the number of cameras in that area. By click the blue icon, the map will automatically zoom into the area and display the normal camera icon.
National Weather Service Watches and Warning icon National Weather Service Watches and Warnings shows alerts for an area. By clicking on these red icons, you can see weather alerts that may affect traffic conditions.
National Weather Service Forecast icon National Weather Service Forecast shows the five-day forecast by county, to help plan your trip.
Runaway Ramp icon Runaway Ramp locations display places where trucks can divert when they have a brake failure on a steep grade.
Weigh Station icon Weigh Station Locations indicate the locations of the permanent weigh stations for trucks. Hours of operation may vary.
Steep Grades icon Steep Grades show locations where truck drivers need to exercise caution and ensure brake functions for traveling.
Rest area icon Rest area locations can be seen throughout the state.
Park and Rideicon Park and Ride locations for carpooling can be seen by activating this map layer.
Toll Booth icon Toll Booth locations along West Virginia's Turnpike can be found with this icon selected.
Welcome center icon West Virginia's Welcome center locations can be viewed with this map selection.

When you click on the incident or advisory icon on the map, a window will appear with more detailed information about incidents and other travel advisories such as the time it was reported or updated, a description and its detailed location.

There are two options for viewing traffic cameras on WV511.org. In Map View, check the box beside Camera in the Legend. Locate the traffic camera you wish to view on the map and click on that Camera icon. A window will appear with a live feed of the traffic camera you selected.

You also can view traffic cameras by selecting Traffic Cameras in the sub-menu under Travel Conditions. Select the traffic camera you wish to view from the list.

There are two options for viewing road conditions on WV511.org. In Map View, select Road Conditions in the upper portion of the Legend. This will highlight routes with information available. Green routes are in good condition. Yellow routes require using caution. Pink routes have hazardous conditions. Red routes are closed. Grey routes do not currently have reported conditions.

511 Phone System Frequently Asked Questions

The West Virginia 511 Traveler Information System is your free, on-demand resource for real-time traffic and traveler information. The phone system provides traffic information such as traffic congestion, crash reports, road conditions, construction and more. Dial 511 from any mobile phone or landline. The call is free; however, charges for mobile phone minutes may apply. Once you are connected to 511, speech recognition software allows you to navigate to the information you want by asking for the information in a normal conversation.

Incidents such as crashes, congestion, construction, and unusual or severe weather conditions will be reported to you for the area you request. To request this information via the WV 511 phone system simply state what you are looking for.

For example, you can ask for traffic on I-79 between Sutton and Bridgeport. You can ask for traffic around a location like Charleston. You can ask for traffic on a roadway for a certain direction of travel, such as I-64 eastbound between Burnwell and Mahan. You can even ask for traffic near a museum, stadium, restaurant, or other place of interest. The 511 phone system will locate the requested location, and get the relevant traffic information.

*Quick Tip: You can set up the 511 phone system to recognize you the next time you call, and offer you information for a preferred area. Just say “change” and you can set a preferred location and preferred information (traffic, weather, construction) for the location so that on your next call in, you will quickly hear the information you want for your preferred travel area.

West Virginia's 511 Traveler Information System also can connect you to:

  • 511 systems in Pennsylvania and Virginia

  • Say "Weather" along with a city or town location to get weather warnings and the forecast.
  • Say “Change Construction” to turn off/on construction information.
  • Say “Change” to set up your preferences.
  • Say "Stop" to interrupt the system.
  • Say "Repeat" to hear what was just played again.
  • Say "Skip" to move to the next incident/weather report within the current segment.
  • Say "Next" to move to the travel update for the next segment of roadway.
  • Say "Comment" to leave feedback.
  • Say "Help" at any time if you need more instruction.

  • Check your mobile phone signal strength when placing a call; weak reception may cause 511 to have problems understanding what you say.
  • Speak as clearly as possible and minimize any background noise — including radios, air conditioning and other people talking.

  • Call 511 before you hit the road, at a rest area or have a passenger call to avoid talking while driving.
  • Call 511 before you enter a new roadway to become aware of the current road condition.

No, WVDOT does not record phone calls to the 511 system. Periodically calls may be recorded for training or analysis purposes.

WV 511 Drive Safe Mobile App Frequently Asked Questions

Please note, the WV 511 Drive Safe mobile application is an audible, hands-free mobile application that should be activated prior to driving a vehicle. Any troubleshooting or settings adjustments should be performed prior to driving, by a passenger in the vehicle or after pulling off the roadway. Drivers should not attempt to troubleshoot or adjust settings to the app while driving.

Several items can be occurring if you are no longer hearing advisories:

  • You may be in an area where no advisories are in the radius you selected. If you think there should be, try pressing the "replay all" button on the far right of the audio controls. This will reset your connection and replay active advisories near you.
  • Your advisory radius may be set to a low value.
  • You may not be in range of a cell tower to provide data access. Ask a passenger to look at the phone (or when you are stopped) to check for any possible error messages related to the cellular network. Once you are back in range of your network, advisories should resume.
  • Your phone may be simply attempting to acquire a location for your device. If you have wireless location (Android: settings -> location -> use wireless networks. iPhone: settings -> Wi-Fi) enabled, you can generally get quicker response times as the phone can utilize this less accurate location while it acquires a more solid GPS lock. If you only have GPS location enabled, allow the device sufficient time to acquire a lock.

You may be arriving to the incident before it has arrived to our system. It can take several minutes for accurate traffic incident information to be collected, verified and posted to the West Virginia 511 Traveler Information System.

If you don't hear an advisory shortly, then there could be other factors. Your phone may have lost internet access. Some areas have weak cellular coverage, so this is possible from time to time. The app will not work without internet access, but when it loses internet access, it will continue to try to automatically reconnect.

If the app continues to say that there are no current advisories, your phone may have lost internet access. Some areas have weak cellular coverage, so this is possible from time to time. The app will not work without internet access, and when it loses internet access, it will continue to try to automatically reconnect. When WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app automatically reconnects, the "No advisories" message will be replayed when there are no advisories.

If the app does not give any advisories, your phone may have lost internet access. Some areas have weak cellular coverage, so this is possible from time to time. The app will not work without internet access, and when it loses internet access, it will continue to try to automatically reconnect.

You also should check your phone's GPS Settings — make sure the phone's GPS is turned on and the phone has a clear view of the sky so your GPS can be read and your location and direction of travel identified. This process may take several minutes. If WV 511 Drive Safe experiences a GPS error, it will be displayed in red on the main screen.

If the screen displays that an advisory is playing, but you cannot hear it, turn up your phone's media volume. There are typically volume controls on the side of the phone, but each phone model may function differently. Check the user guide for your particular phone.

You can click the "home" button and WV 511 Drive Safe will continue to play advisories for you while you use other phone functions. If you just want to turn off the sound from playing, simply change the On/Off switch to "Off". To have sounds resume playing again, change it back to the "on" position.

Alternately, with Android smart phones you may tap your phone's back button. A dialogue window will appear with options to Minimize the app (advisories will play in the background), Quit the app (quit and close completely), or cancel (return to app). Select "Minimize".

For Android smart phones, tap your phone's back button. A dialogue window will appear with options to Minimize the app (advisories will play in the background), Quit the app (quit and close completely), or cancel (return to app). Select "Quit App".

Alternatively, you can quit by swiping down from the top bar, and select to close the app. from the homepage of the app, tap your phone's menu button and tap "Quit".

For iPhones, first press the Home button once to minimize the app. Then, press the home button twice quickly to display the list of running applications. Locate the WV 511 Drive Smart icon (on this screen or by scrolling). Press and hold down the WV 511 Drive Smart icon. Now the icons on the screen will start to wiggle and each icon have a red — on the top corner. Find the WV 511 Drive Smart icon and press the red —. The app will now be closed.

To silence the drive mode without quitting the app, from the Audio Alerts screen, toggle the “Main Switch” to OFF.

For Android smart phones, with the WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app open, access "Settings" by tapping your phone's menu button, and selecting "Settings". You may return back to the main screen by tapping the "Save Changes" button located at the bottom of the Settings page, or you may tap the phone's Back button.

For iPhones, with the WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app open, tap the "Settings" link at the bottom of the screen. You may return to the main Audio Control screen by tapping the "Home" button located at the bottom of the screen.

WV 511 Drive Safe is updated to be used with current Android and iOS versions. It should install properly on many earlier versions and sub-versions of the current OS. Try uninstalling any previous versions of WV 511 Drive Safe before installing a new version. Otherwise, a phone reboot before installation may solve the issue.

Be sure first that you are still connected to your provider's cellular network. (You need to be connected to receive the sound files). If you are connected, the most likely reason for the playback to stop is that another application began playback of another audio file and halted the WV 511 Drive Safe application's audio stream. If this occurs, simply switch back into the WV 511 Drive Safe application and press "play" to continue WV 511 Drive Safe audio, if hitting play does not resume the audio or you wish to re-hear all advisories, press the "Replay" button on the far right of the audio controls to restart your connection.

Either you are not in an area where the cellular data network is not available, or permissions for network usage have been disabled for WV 511 Drive Safe. Ensure your network is within range, and permissions have been set to allow access for this application.

Ensure that you have provided permissions to the WV 511 Drive Safe application to use your GPS and location settings. You can find this option on your home screen under Settings -> Location Services and then look for the "Drive Safe" listing which should be in the "On" position. The "Location Services" setting at the top of the screen must be "ON" as well.

Note: If you are unable to change the Location Services for Drive Safe to "On", you might have Location Services blocked through Restrictions. Go to Settings -> General -> Restrictions, and enter your passcode. Tap "Location" under the "Allow Changes" menu. Tap on the "Allow Changes" menu item to allow Location service changes. Make sure the setting for Location Services is "On". Switch the button next to Drive Safe to the "On" Position.

If you are still seeing the message after those options are set, you may be in an area where location data is not available. Try to move into range of several cell towers, or provide the phone a clear view of the sky to collect GPS coordinates.

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