511 On The Phone

511 is easy to use because it’s fully voice activated; you don’t need to punch numbers on the phone to get the information you need. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Call 511
  2. Say what you want: “Traffic” “Public Transit” or “Commute Services”
  3. To get the info faster, be more specific. You can say something like:
    • “Traffic on the 405”,
    • "Bus Schedules” or
    • “Find a carpool partner”.
  4. 511 will give you the info you need or will transfer you to someone who can help

Quick Tips:

  1. Use shortcuts
    • If you already know what you want, just say it. Also, you don’t need to wait for 511 to finish the question; you can interrupt and 511 will still understand you.
  2. Speak loud and clear
    • 511 will understand you better if you speak loudly and clearly.
  3. Try touch tones
    • 511 will have a hard time understanding you if there’s too much noise in the background. Having trouble? Press *8 to use your touchtone keypad at anytime.

FAQ

General


Is there a charge to call 511?
There is no cost for using 511. Calls made to 511 from your cell phone will only cost you the minutes used during the calls.

Is 511 available in languages other than English?
At this time, 511 is only available in English. A Spanish language version will be available in the future.

Why can't 511 understand what I say?
511 is voice activated and sometimes picks up background noise. Background noise from radios, nearby conversations, vehicles and street noise may interfere with the 511’s ability to understand what you’re saying.

If rolling up the windows, turning down the music or finding a quiet spot doesn’t help, a better option is to use your touch-tone keypad. Simply press *8 at anytime to switch from voice to touch-tone keypad commands.

Why doesn't 511 work when I call from my cell phone?
If you can’t connect to 511, your cell phone provider most likely does not provide access to it. We currently provide 511 access for most of the Southern California region. Please contact your cell phone provider directly and report the problem. In the meantime, you can call 877.22.Go511 to access Southern California 511.

Why was 511 busy when I called?
It’s possible that 511 may be experiencing an unusually high volume of calls when you called. Try calling 511 again after a few minutes. If you still receive a busy tone, then contact us to report the issue.

How can I get the information that I want, faster?
An easy way to get the information is to say what you want without waiting for 511 to complete the questions. In other words, you can interrupt 511 while it’s asking a question. For example, as soon as 511 asks: “What can I help with,” you can say “traffic on the four oh five” without waiting to hear the entire question.

Another way of getting information faster is to use shortcuts. Shortcuts are specific words that can be said at the Main Menu to take you directly to the feature you want. Please refer to the next question, What specific words can I say to get the information I want, faster to learn more about shortcuts you can use.

You can also say the following at anytime during your call for faster navigation:

  • “Main Menu” takes you directly back to the Main Menu
  • “Repeat” tells you the information again
  • “Start Over” takes you to the top level menu of the current state
  • “Go Back” to return to a previous menu

What specific words can I say to get the information I want, faster?
You can say any of the following specific words and go directly to that area of 511:

  • For Traffic Information: Say: “Traffic on [Highway/Freeway] [Direction]”: This takes you directly to the Traffic and Travel Time reports for the specified freeway. Example: say “Traffic on the 710 south” or “Traffic on the 60 east”
  • For Public Transit Information: Say: “Agency Name” This transfers your call to the transit agency you’d like to talk to. Example: say “Metrolink” or “OCTA”
  • For Commute Services Information: Saying a specific service will transfer you to someone who can help. Example: say “Carpool”, “Vanpool”, or “Park and Ride lots”

How do I use 511 if I'm hearing-impaired?
Hearing-impaired users can call the California Relay Service at 711 and ask to be connected to Southern California's 511 service at 877.22.Go511 (877.224.6511).

How do I use 511 if I'm speech-impaired?
Speech-impaired users can Press *8 (*T) to switch from Voice to the Touch Tone commands. When in Touch Tone mode, users can navigate 511 using the touch keypad only. Or call the California Relay Service at 711 and ask to be connected to Southern California's 511 service through 877.22.Go511 (877.224.6511).

How can I get help when I call 511?
You can get help in 511 by saying “Help” at any time during your call to hear options for the current menu. You can also press the star (*) key on your touch tone keypad to get help.

What kind of help will a 511 operator give me?
If you are having trouble getting the information you want, you can be transferred to an operator who can help you. The operator will ask you what information you’re looking for, much like 511 does, and then the operator will transfer you back into 511 so you can hear the information requested.

When I’m in San Diego, San Bernardino or Riverside Counties, I can’t reach Southern California 511. Why?
Southern California 511 supplies information about five counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura. However, you can only reach this 511 system by calling from Los Angeles, Orange or Ventura Counties.

511 is also available in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, but is a different system. To access this system, call 511 from one of these counties.

To access San Diego’s 511, call 511 while in San Diego or visit San Diego 511.

To see a listing of other surrounding 511 programs, visit Surrounding Systems.

How do I give my feedback on the 511 service?
You can provide feedback by saying “Feedback” or pressing *3 (Star 3) from the touch-tone keypad at any time during your call, and 511 will prompt you to leave a recorded message.

Traffic



What kind of traffic information will 511 give me when I call?
511 will give you on-demand traffic information specific to your route. 511 gives up to date information on traffic speeds, travel times and incidents such as road construction, lane closures and accidents on interstate highways and state routes in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura Counties.

Tell 511 a roadway name, direction and exit. 511 will tell you the following for that area:

  • Traffic Speed: 511 will tell you the average traffic speed on the freeway area you ask about.
  • Incidents: 511 will tell you if there is an accident, road closure or any other event that might delay traffic.
  • Travel Time Information: 511 will tell you the travel time between the area you asked about and the next three freeway interchanges.

How can I get the traffic information I want on the phone?
When you call 511, you will be asked if you want information on traffic, public transit or commuter services. To get traffic information, follow these simple steps:

  1. At the Main Menu, say “Traffic” or Press 1.
  2. 511 will ask you “Where do you want traffic info for?” Say a freeway or state route number.
  3. 511 will ask you the direction you’re traveling. Say north, south, east or west.
  4. 511 will ask you to “Tell me an exit”. Say an exit name or exit number.

Once 511 knows what freeway, direction and exit you want traffic information for, 511 will read you the traffic report for that area.

To get the information faster, simply say the freeway name, direction and exit name in one sentence at the Main Menu. For example, you can say “Traffic on the 405 north at Wilshire Boulevard” instead of saying each piece of information separately.

Are there easy shortcuts for getting traffic information faster?
Yes. Instead of waiting for 511 to ask you each individual question about your freeway, direction and exit, you can simply say everything in one sentence at the Main Menu. For example, you can say “Traffic on the 405 north at Wilshire Boulevard” instead of saying each piece of information separately.

What freeways and roadways can I ask 511 about?
You can ask about all major roadways in Southern California, including interstate, state and federal highways. In the future, 511 will also provide traffic information for major arterial roads.

Can I ask about multiple freeways in a single call?
Yes, you can ask about traffic on multiple freeways in a single call. Once 511 has read out the information on the first freeway, you can go back to the Traffic Menu and request for information on another freeway. Another option is to say “Main Menu” and then say the name of the freeway. In case you don’t want to hear the complete traffic information for the freeway you requested initially, you can say “Start Over” (or Press *7 from your touch-tone keypad) to go back to the Traffic menu and request for information for another freeway.

Does 511 have traffic information for specific areas or traffic hotspots?
Yes, 511 will give you traffic information for heavily traveled areas, called traffic hotspots. You can hear traffic reports for hotspots by saying “Traffic” and then saying the traffic hotspot name in the Traffic Menu. Traffic hotspots include:

Anaheim Convention Center Angel Stadium Bob Hope Airport
Bolsa Chica Beach Cahuenga Pass Cajon Summit
Cal State University Long Beach Calabasas Grade City of Hope
Conejo Grade Devore Cutoff Disneyland
Dodger Stadium Downtown LA East LA Interchange
El Monte Busway El Toro Y Exposition Park
Four Level Fox Hills Transit Center Glendora Curve
Grapevine Greek Theatre Griffith Park
Harbor Transitwayv Hollywood Bowl Hollywood Park
Home Depot Center Honda Center Huntington Beach
Irvine Spectrum John Wayne Airport Kellogg Hill
Knotts Berry Farm Kodak Theatre LA Convention Centerv
LA Live LAX Long Beach Airport
Long Beach Aquarium Los Alamitos Curve Magic Mountain
McClure Tunnel Moreno Valley Interchange Newhall Pass
Nokia Theatre Ontario Airport Ontario Mills Mall
Orange County Fairgrounds Orange Crush Pomona Fairgrounds
Raging Waters Riverside Interchange Rose Hills
San Bernardino Split San Clemente Historical Society San Manuel Pavilion
Santa Ana Spur Santa Ana Zoo Santa Anita Racetrack
Santa Monica Airport Santa Monica Beach Santa Susana Pass
Seal Beach Sepulveda Pass Skirball
South Bay Curve South Coast Plaza Staples Center
The District at Tustin Legacy The Forum The Getty
The Grove at Anaheim The Shops at Mission Viejo Tustin Marketplace
Tyler Mall UCI UCLA
UCR Union Station Universal City
Universal Studios USC Van Nuys Airport
Ventura County Fairgrounds Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Victoria Gardens
Vincent Thomas Bridge Westminster Mall Wild Rivers

Why can’t 511 give me the exact travel time for my entire trip?
511 will give you the travel time between the area you asked about and the next four consecutive freeway interchanges. 511 currently gives segmented travel times from one freeway interchange to another freeway interchange. You can get travel times for your entire trip by listening to the travel times along each of the segments you’re traveling on. In the future, 511 will give you the entire travel time from the start to the end of your trip.

Can 511 give me a list a freeways that serve my area?
To hear the list of freeways that serve a particular area, simply say “Traffic” in the Main Menu and then say “Freeway List”. You can also use your phone’s touch-tone keypad and dial 777. 511 will ask you what city you need a freeway list for, and will list the freeways in or near that particular city.

Public Transit



What is the 511 Automated Phone Trip Planner?
The 511 Automated Trip Planner will tell you the best bus or train route for your trip by matching your start and end point to current transit schedules. It will also tell you how long your trip will take, if there are any transfers involved and how much the trip will cost. The phone Trip Planner is fully voice activated, so simply tell 511 your travel preferences and listen for your itinerary.

What area does the 511 Automated Phone Trip Planner cover?
511’s Trip Planner can plan your transit trip within Los Angeles and Orange Counties. If you need to travel outside of these two Counties, 511 will transfer you to an agency that can help you plan your trip.

How does the Trip Planner calculate trips?
Transit trips are planned by matching your travel plan information against current transit schedules. The Trip Planner uses the schedules from over 60 transit agencies in Southern California to help you find the best route for your trip.

How do I use the Trip Planner on the phone?
If your trip is within Los Angeles and Orange Counties, your trip can be planned using the following steps on 511’s Automated Trip Planner. Otherwise, 511 will transfer you to someone who can help you plan your trip.

  1. Give 511 your trip’s start city and end city

  2. 511 will ask if your start and end point is an “Address”, “Intersection” or “Landmark”. You can say something like:
    • “1111 Figueroa Street” (Address)
    • “King and Main” (Intersection) or
    • “Union Station” (Landmark)
  3. Give 511 the day you want to travel. You can say something like:
    • “Today”
    • “Tomorrow” or
    • “July 4th”
  4. To help pick the right schedule, tell 511 whether you want “Leave at a certain time” or “Arrive by a certain time”.

  5. Give 511 the time you want to travel. You can say something like:
    • “9 AM” or
    • “3:30 PM”
  6. 511 will give you your itinerary and fare information. You can control what you hear by saying “Next”, “Previous”, “Pause” “Repeat” or “Stop”.

  7. After listening to your itinerary, have the option to:
    • Plan a Round Trip
    • Plan a Different Route or
    • Plan a New Trip

Why didn't the Trip Planner recognize a well-known landmark?
The Trip Planner recognizes many landmarks in its coverage area, but some types of landmarks are not included. If your landmark is one of the supported types, it may have a "formal" name different from what you said. We are expanding our database of alternate names for landmarks. If you would like a landmark name added, please give us your feedback.

Sometimes the Trip Planner takes a long time to give me my itinerary. Why?
Some trips may have many possible solutions. It may take the Trip Planner more time to find the right trip to fit your travel plans.

Why couldn’t the Trip Planner find an itinerary for my trip?
Sometimes the Trip Planner will not be able to find an itinerary for your trip because:

  1. No transit agencies serve your start and/or end points
  2. The time/day you want to travel are outside of normal service operation
  3. The trip planner is currently out of service

If the Trip Planner is not returning an itinerary, change your start/end points or time/day of travel. If the Trip Planner is still not returning an itinerary, simply ask for “General Transit Information” at the top of the Public Transit menu. 511 will transfer you to an agency in your area that can help you plan your trip.

How can I tell if a route is affected by construction, an event, or other reroutes?
Notices of these conditions are maintained by the individual transit agencies. Visit our Find a Transit Provider page to link to the agency and get more information on rider alerts or other notices. Or, call 511 and say the name of the transit provider you’re traveling with. 511 will transfer you to that agency.

I used the Trip Planner to get a trip plan that had a transfer. I was at the transfer location, but missed my bus. What happened?
The Trip Planner plans itineraries based on scheduled bus arrival times, and allows enough time between transfers for you to make your connection. The Trip Planner does not account for buses and trains that might be running late or early. If your bus or train is not running according to schedule, you might miss your connection.

The trip itinerary I am getting does not seem right. What should I do?
Check to make sure that your start and end points are correct. If the trip itinerary still seems wrong, please let us know. Your feedback will help us improve the Trip Planner functionality and pinpoint problem areas. You can also leave feedback by calling 511 and saying “Feedback”.

What is the 511 Automated Phone Transit Departure Times?
Transit Departure Times is a tool that gives you the next scheduled bus or train arrival times for your stop within a two-hour time period.

What area does the 511 Automated Phone Transit Departure Times cover?
511’s Transit Departure Times can plan your transit trip within Los Angeles and Orange Counties. If you need to travel outside of these two Counties, 511 will transfer you to an agency that can help you plan your trip.

How do I use the Transit Departure Times on the phone?
To find out when the next scheduled but or train will arrive, follow these simple steps:

  1. Tell 511 your City
  2. Tell 511 the Transit Provider and the Bus or Train Line you want.
  3. Tell 511 the Direction of travel. If you don’t know, 511 will tell you the scheduledbus arrival times for both directions.
  4. Tell 511 the name of the boarding Stop or Station you want travel times for
  5. Listen as 511 gives you the arrival times for your route and stop
  6. After you have listened to the arrival times, you can tell 511 to Repeat, choose a Different Stop, or choose a Different Line.

My bus did not arrive at the time that Transit Departure Times told me it would. Why?
Buses can be delayed by traffic, a mechanical problem or other circumstances causing them to be off schedule. Transit Departure Times uses scheduled bus arrival time information instead of real-time information, so sometimes the actual bus arrival time will not match the scheduled time given by Transit Departure Times.

Why doesn’t Transit Departure Times use real-time instead of scheduled information?
At this time, Transit Departure Times includes only scheduled information. Once all transit providers have bus-tracking technology, real-time information will be available.

My transit provider is not included in Transit Departure Times. How can I get my provider’s bus schedules added?
You can visit our Find a Transit Provider page to check individual transit agency schedules and maps. You can also request that your transit provider’s schedules are added to Transit Departure Times through the Feedback link, which is at the bottom of every page on the website. Your request to add a transit provider to Transit Departure Times will be considered as we work to improve 511.

I entered all of the required information, and Transit Departure Times said “No scheduled trips can be found at this time”. Why?
Transit Departure Times will not be able to provide you with transit arrival information if your bus or train route is not in operation at the time you enter all of the required information.

Commuter Services



What is Commuter Services?
Commuter Services can help you find a better route to work by providing Rideshare Services, Bicycling Information and Public Transit Information. Simply say what you want, and 511 will help you or transfer you to an agent that will give you the information you need.

Rideshare
Saying “Rideshare” will transfer you to an agent that can help you with the following:
  • Carpool and Vanpool matching (say “carpool” or “vanpool”)
  • Guaranteed Ride Home information (say “guaranteed ride home”)
  • Finding a Parknull lot (say “park and ride”)
  • Employer Rideshare Programs (say “employer programs”)

Since Rideshare information is based on the city you work in, 511 will ask you “What area do you work in?”. Say the city you work in and 511 will transfer you to an agent that will provide you with Rideshare Services you’re requesting.

Bicycle
You can say “bicycle” to reach the bicycle section. After you say the city name when 511 asks “Which city do you want bicycle information for?”, 511 transfers you to the bicycle agency of that particular city. If you already know the name of the bicycle agency, just say it and 511 will transfer your call directly to that agency.

Public Transit and Metrolink
You can say “transit” to reach the Public Transit section. You can choose which type of transit services to hear about, or ask to speak to a specific transit agency. If you don’t know the name of the Transit agency, then tell 511 the name of the city and it will transfer you to the transit Agency that serves that city. If you already know the name of the transit agency, just say it and 511 will transfer your call directly to that transit agency.

How can 511 help me find a carpool or vanpool?
Call 511 and say “Carpool” or “Vanpool” at the Main Menu. Since carpool and vanpool matching is based on the city you work in, 511 will ask you “What area do you work in?”. Say the city you work in and 511 will transfer you to an agent that will help you find a carpool partner or vanpool program in your area.

How can I quickly get transferred to an agent that can match me with a carpool or vanpool partner?
To get transferred quickly, say the name of the County you work in followed by “Rideshare” at the Main Menu. For example, if you work in Orange County, simply say “Orange County Rideshare” and 511 will transfer you to an agent that will help you find a carpool partner or vanpool program in your area.

How can I find information about Parknull;Ride lots?
Say “Park and Ride” at the Main Menu. Since Parknull;Ride lot information is based on the city you work in, 511 will ask you “What area do you work in?” Say the city you work in and 511 will transfer you to an agent that will help you find a Park null; Ride lot.

Can 511 help me find bicycle maps for Southern California?
Yes. 511 can transfer you to the Bicycle agency that can provide you with the bicycle maps. At the Main Menu, say “bicycle” to reach the bicycle menu. After you say the city name when 511 asks “Which city do you want bicycle information for?”, 511 transfers the call to the bicycle agency of that particular city. If you already know the name of the bicycle agency, just say it and 511 will transfer your call directly to that agency.