Motorists rely heavily on WYDOT’s 511 system during recent storms

December 16, 2019

Motorists traveling in Wyoming during two recent winter storms relied heavily upon the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s (WYDOT’s) 511 travel information service.

Motorists either called WYDOT’s 511 system or visited the website to learn more about road closures and travel conditions during the storms on Nov. 25 through 26 and on Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.

During both storms, interstates 25 and 80 and other primary roads were closed, with some closures occurring over a 24-hour period due to the severity of the conditions.

Over an eight-day period from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2, the phone system received 60,074 calls for an average of about 6,675 calls per day. That number is higher than a typically winter day call volume. On Dec. 4, which had some road impacts like slick conditions, black ice and crashes, the 511 phone system received 1,136 calls.

During that same storm time frame, the text-based web pages of the 511 system had about 67 million hits. On Dec. 4, there were 2.9 million hits.

Motorists also relied on the map-based information. During Nov. 25 through Dec. 2, there were about 44.6 million hits. On Dec. 4, there were 925,265 hits.

Additionally, there was a peak of 94 simultaneous calls coming into the 511 system during those storms from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2. That means that when call volumes were at their highest, there were 94 people calling into the system at the same time.

When looking at data from a typical winter day, on Dec. 4, there was a peak of nine simultaneous calls. 

Average call length was about the same during the storms when compared to a typical winter day. The storm data time frame showed an average call length of 2 minutes and 27 seconds while the typical winter day (Dec. 4) showed an average call length of 2 minutes and 24 seconds. 

Wyoming Highway Patrol Dispatch also stayed busy during the recent storms. On Nov. 25, dispatch received 1,897 calls and responded to 111 motorist assists, 154 crashes and 37 hazards. When conditions deteriorated on Nov. 26, dispatch received 1,912 calls and responded to 122 motorist assists, 41 crashes and 31 hazards.

During the next storm on Nov. 30, calls and incidents decreased. Dispatch received 1,775 calls and responded to 87 motorist assists, 15 crashes and 28 hazards. The next day on Dec. 1, calls and incidents then increased. Dispatch received 2,395 calls and responded to 183 motor assists, 90 crashes and 32 hazards.

Visit WYDOT's 511 website for the latest on road and travel conditions.

For additional information about this news release, contact Aimee Inama, senior Public Affairs specialist, at (307) 777-4013.