Phone Help

How do I reach the Idaho 511 phone system?

Dial 511 from any cell or landline phone physically located within Idaho. The call is free, although standard cell phone minutes may apply.

Does 511 know where I am calling from?

The 511 system recognizes when a caller is within Idaho borders regardless of their cell phone area code. The phone system is not location aware, so you will need to request information by city, county or highway.

My cell phone does not have a Idaho area code. Can I access Idaho 511 and My Idaho 511?

When you call 511 from a cell phone, the system identifies you by the location of the cell tower or switch which first picks up your call. If you are in Idaho during your call, you will most likely be connected to Idaho 511. If you're calling 511 from near a border with another state, you may get connected to the other state's 511 system. If this happens, simply request a transfer to Idaho 511.

The My Idaho 511 system then uses Caller ID technology to identify you and access your custom profiles. If you have not set up an account, you will simply be connected to 511. Not all cellular carriers provide Caller ID information from their customers. If your Caller ID information does not show up on another phone when you call, you will not be able to use My Idaho 511. You can use the command ‘profiles’ and be prompted to enter the phone number associated with your account, and you can still use Idaho 511.

How will I know what information to ask for when calling 511?

511 is a voice-activated and touch-tone phone system that will guide you through menu options. 511 will ask if you would like information on traffic or if you would like your call to be transferred to a partner agency.

How do I ask for information on a specific roadway?

When asking for information on a roadway, first request the roadway by name or number. Then ask for a city or county. For example, say "78," then "Highway State" to receive traffic information on 78 around Hwy State. You can also ask for a city or country first, then ask about a specific roadway. Be sure to use the road’s identifier (interstate, state road, U.S.) before the number (ex: Interstate 49, State Road 78, U.S. 93). Please use the road number and not the name.

How do I access my routes when I call 511?

If you included your phone number in your profile, when you call 511, Caller ID technology will recognize your phone number and access your routes. You will be prompted to say the name of the route for which you want traffic information. If you choose to create a custom-named route, you will have to assign it a name. My Idaho 511 will recognize the pronunciation of the name in the most common North American English phonetics. Names should be entered in North American English using only standard letters (alphabetic) and spaces. The names are not case sensitive. You can access a list of your custom-named routes anytime when you call 511 by saying, "help." My Idaho 511 will narrate a list of your saved routes. To make using the custom-named routes easier, listen to how My Idaho 511 pronounces the names so you can speak the route name in a way the system with recognize them.

Does Idaho Transportation Department record phone calls to the 511 system?

Like many other call centers, Idaho Transportation Department records all phone calls to the 511 system. These recordings allow Idaho Transportation Department to troubleshoot the system. By analyzing calls, Idaho Transportation Department can pinpoint potential issues and improve system functionality, such as voice recognition, to provide you with a better user experience.

What can I do when the system cannot recognize what I am saying?

When calling 511, you should reduce background noise like radios, open windows, air conditioner fans and other people talking. These actions can help the 511 system understand you better. You should also speak slowly and clearly.

Remember to be safe when you check 511. You can call 511, check the mobile application or visit before leaving home or the office to check conditions on your planned route. Long-distance travelers can check 511 from a rest area, restaurant, gas station or other stop to avoid using a cell phone when driving. You can also ask a passenger to check 511 instead.

There are several steps you can take if you're having trouble making the 511 system understand you:

  • Speak as clearly as possible
  • Minimize background noise
  • Check your cell phone signal strength when placing a call; weak reception may cause 511 to have problems understanding what you say.
  • Ask for information using single commands instead of back-to-back commands.
  • Wait for the system to finish speaking before using a command.

I'm calling 511 from my car using Bluetooth and the system does not understand me.

The 511 phone system is sensitive to background noise. Using any type of speaker system when calling 511 may interfere with the system’s voice recognition ability. If you would like to use the 511 system during your drive, we recommend that before your trip, you download the new 511 mobile application for Apple or Android. With the app’s new “Drive Mode” you can enter a destination, receive up to three routes and travel times plus see any incidents on your route. If an incident occurs on your route while you are driving, the app will audibly alert you of the incident. If you still would like to use the 511 phone system, we recommend calling 511 before you get on the road, having a passenger call for you or pulling over to call in a safe location. If you still would like to call 511 using a Bluetooth device, we recommend using a Bluetooth headset.

I’m in a crowded space with a lot of background noise. Will the 511 phone system understand my requests?

When calling the 511 system, it is important to reduce any background noise. Multiple voices may result in the system not recognizing your request. If you need to check 511 while you are in a loud space, we recommend visiting our website, downloading our free app or signing up for personalized services. With the new My Idaho 511 personalized services you have the ability to create door to door routes and have the system send you a text message or email when a crash, congestion or closure comes up on your route. The notification will include your updated travel time. You can set up these alerts for any day or time of your choosing.

How can a deaf or hard-of-hearing individual use the 511 phone system?

The 711 Telecommunications Relay Service allows the deaf and hard-of-hearing who use telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) to access the voice recognition and response features of Idaho 511. To access 511, a user would need to know the county from which they are calling or to which they are traveling.

Here's how a 511 call through 711 might happen:
Customer: Dials 711
Operator: "Idaho Relay Operator (insert CA ID#) M(male)/F(female) GA (go ahead)"
Customer: "Please dial Idaho 511 GA"
Operator: "County you are calling from pls Q GA"
Customer: Provides the county
The Operator then connects the customer to the 511 system. The Operator types what is heard after dialing the number. The customer would request information from 511 following the same call flows as other 511 callers, requesting traffic or transfer.

NOTE: Not all Idaho counties have 511-covered roadways. If a caller calls from a county where there are no 511-covered roadways, the operator may inform the caller "I'M SORRY 511 SERVICE IS NOT AVAILABLE IN THAT COUNTY ... GA"

I have an Internet phone (Voice Over IP/VoIP). Will I be able to access My Idaho 511?

Some Internet telephony (VoIP) providers are compatible with 511. The service uses the address you register with the provider (primarily used to identify your location for 911 or E911). When you call 511, your provider will route the call to 511.

Not all VoIP carriers are able to identify your registered location to 511 yet. Vonage is the first VoIP carrier to do so, and cable companies which provide VoIP (or digital phone) may also provide this service.

If you are able to access 511 in Idaho from your VoIP phone, you will be able to use My Idaho 511 from that phone as well. Since My Idaho 511 recognizes you by your registered phone number, once you're connected to Idaho 511, you will have the option to hear your customized routes first.

To see if your provider is compatible, dial 511 from your VoIP phone and see if it connects you to the statewide Idaho 511 system. If it does, you will be able to access the My idaho 511 features from that phone. You can also contact your VoIP provider and ask if their service is compatible with 511.

If you cannot access 511 from you VoIP phone, please submit an email through the “Submit Feedback” form located on the website on the bottom right-hand corner.

I want to call from my office but the system doesn't recognize me or gives me the wrong routes. What's going on?

Many offices use Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems. Typically, when a call is placed from a phone on a PBX system, Caller ID registers the system's main phone number or the first available outside line instead of the direct phone number for the individual. Users who register a phone number on a PBX system may be unable to access My Idaho 511, or may access the account of another user who registered the main number. Since two users cannot register the same primary or secondary phone numbers, co-workers should not register their office's main number as this could cause confusion. To test whether your office phone will work with My Idaho 511, call your cell phone or another phone equipped with Caller ID and note what number appears on Caller ID. If it is your direct line, your office phone number should work with My Idaho 511. If not, we recommend you not register your office phone and instead use a cell phone or home phone number. Some companies have their Caller ID permanently blocked. If your company is one of them, My Idaho 511 will not recognize you when you call from your work phone due to the fact that Caller ID will show the call as either "unknown" or "restricted."