Utah DOT unveils voice-activated 511 system

Utah DOT unveils voice-activated 511 system

Utah's Transportation Department yesterday launched the first voice-activated 511 traveler information network. Lt. Gov. Olene Walker placed the first phone call to get traffic information.

The system runs on a carrier-grade network and uses Voice Advantage software from Tellme Networks Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., to convert HTML Web pages into Voice Extensible Markup Language, making Web site information accessible by voice commands.

Utah's DOT has a Web site with continuously updated traffic information at www.utahcommuterlink.com. Field agents and operators send traffic information to the site 24 hours a day.

Tellme Networks spokeswoman Megan Dyer said when a caller phones 511 and says 'traffic,' the call is converted into VoiceXML and transmitted to the Commuterlink site, which sends the traffic information back in an audio file.

For the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in February, 511 callers will be able to request event schedules, driving directions, news headlines and tips for avoiding traffic jams, Tellme officials said.

The Federal Communications Commission has allocated 511 as the nationwide number for traveler information in much the same way that callers can dial 411 for directory assistance.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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