Since 1927, travellers have depended on the AMA for road reports in one form or another. That is about to change. “After two years of discussions between the AMA and Alberta Transportation, both parties agreed that government was in the best position to take traveller information to the next level in Alberta” explains Trent Bancarz, Public Affairs Officer, Alberta Transportation. The new service, 511 Alberta, will now be operated by the Alberta government and is a free traveller information service which may be accessed via phone, mobile device, or computer. Having both phone-in and web site components ensures 511 Alberta is available to the widest range of users
Why government took over the AMA service
Mr. Bancarz explains why the changes were made to the delivery of the service. “511 Alberta becomes the official source of highway travel information in Alberta with the government providing both the gathering and dissemination of road report information. A second consideration is adopting the 5-1-1 code. In 2006, the CRTC ruled that 5-1-1 is to be used exclusively by provincial or territorial governments. Had the AMA continued to provide the service, it’s not clear if they would be allowed to use 5-1-1. We felt it important that Alberta join other jurisdictions and adopt a 5-1-1 system.”
The expanded service is diverse.
“The information covers highway conditions, roadwork, major incidents like detours and closures, weather alerts, availability of ferry services, and waiting times at border crossings. Users within Alberta may access the information via phone toll-free by simply calling 5-1-1, similar to the way they would call 9-1-1 for emergencies or 4-1-1 for directory assistance. Computer and mobile device users may also visit the 511 Alberta web site at www.511.alberta.ca. Having both phone-in and web site components ensures 511 Alberta is available to the widest range of users. The 5-1-1 code is used in several provinces and most U.S. states.”