Home > FAQs

Why did they choose the number 511 and not 411 or 311?

While this is not an official answer from any government agency or any traffic website I am pulling information from various sources in order to come up with a logical answer. I will go in X11 order.

111: In the United States 111 is not used however in other countries such as New Zealand 111 is equivalent to 911 in the United States.

211: This is like calling 911 but not for life threating emerges or if you see a wanted person, however from almost anywhere in the United States or Puerto Rico, you are connected with a trained professional in your area who can connect you with resources and assistance for essential community services. (Source: https://www.windwardfp.com/know-dialing-211 and https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/dial-211-essential-community-services)

311: The number to 311, usually has to do with the local city where they are adopting a centralized telephone number that if you have a question within the city limits on a landline telephone you dial 311 and you're connected to a representative that will be able to answer most questions, take a report for stuff like tall grass, or route you to the appropriate person instead of having to try to choose which department is the best department to contact if you have a question, comment or a consecnen.

411: The 411 number, the 411 is like pressing zero on a phone, it connects you to the operator.

511: The 511 number in most of the states in the United States is adopting this and incorporating this into their new system traffic system although there are some states that have not yet made the upgrade.

Most states using 511xx, xx represents the state dot org i.e. 511va.org in order to make it much easier for people to remember rather than having to remember something like this https://web6.seattle.gov/travelers and not having two websites that does the something like https://www.wsdot.com/traffic/seattle/default.aspx

611: This is pending verification. From what I can see online it seems that the number 611 is used for cell phone providers to allow the customers to contact a representative such as billing issues, questions and concerns, rather than having to look up a 1-800 number or a local telephone number for the cell phone company provider.

711: The number 711 is for telecommunications relay services. I'm not sure how this works. Some information about this you can see on the FCC's website at https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/711-telecommunications-relay-service

811: The number 811 in the United States and maybe other countries is a short number for call before you dig in other words it's miss utility. Get more information at call811.com

911: We all know the answer obviously that 911 is reserved for emergencies and that number is recognized probably worldwide.

Why do some states operate two different websites that does the same thing such as Washington?

This link https://web6.seattle.gov/travelers is operated by the city of Seattle which their website for displaying traffic information including viewing traffic in real time is much better as opposed to the state's website https://www.wsdot.com/traffic/cameras which the overall quality seems to be very poor, functionality again poor, the website seems to be very dated and does not show traffic information as opposed to the city's website, that shows traffic information in real time plus you can view live feed of the traffic cameras.

Why do some states only have traffic cameras on the interstate while other states have traffic cameras on city streets?

I'm not sure of the official answer so I'm only giving an answer that I think would probably be the most logical answer that would make sense.

A lot of the traffic Network seems to be a mix of new and old technology which you can clearly tell by some of the pictures because some of them still use only still pictures that are available to the public viewing while others allow live video feed and even the live video feed the quality is overall pretty poor on some of the traffic cameras.

Which I would imagine upgrading does not come cheap and it is possible that if it works why fix something, as the saying goes.

I also think it has to do with security perhaps some areas they do not want the general public accessing many traffic cameras probably four security reasons.

Some areas such as in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia besides just having traffic cameras on the interstate they also have traffic cameras in City of Newport News, City of Hampton, York County / Town only at the Coleman Bridge toll plaza, City of Virginia Beach, Isle of Wight County, City of Norfolk and the City of Chesapeake, other areas include Richmond and some parts outside of Arlington, and kind of hodgepodge around the mountains.

Who controls the traffic cameras and who is responsible for maintaining them?

I'm going to use the City of Newport News and the Virginia Department of Transportation known as VDOT for short. If you access any traffic camera within the City of Newport News excluding the interstates, they will say City of Newport News within the city limits, so the City of Newport News is responsible for those traffic cameras and assume that have control over them, and if they say VDOT, then Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for those traffic cameras and has control over them.

What about bridges and tunnels such as Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel known as HRBT?

I would imagine if the traffic camera is on bridge and/or tunnel such as the HRBT most likely the folks who work at the HRBT would have control over those traffic cameras.

How far can the traffic camera zoom in?

From the traffic cameras that I have watched which there are some traffic cameras that I frequently watch; they seem to be able to zoom in at about a half a mile with pretty good visibility.

Do the traffic cameras record?

No, from what all of the dots say, they say they do not record any of the feeds, although keep in mind if it is publicly accessible for anyone to access then it is also possible for anyone to record.

What does MM stand for?

MM stands for mile marker. This is primarily used on interstates where in some cases it could be miles before the closest exit.

What is the mile marker used for?

Mile markers are certain amount of miles in order to pinpoint a general geographical location on the interstate. For example let's assume that you pull over because your girlfriend or wife is about to give birth. If you call 911 there's obviously no address however you would be able to say I am near mile marker 147 on I-64 and they would be able to then dispatch an ambulance around the geographical location of mile marker 147 on I-64.