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New 5-1-1 app for those on the go

The State Department of Transportation has created a free mobile device application which is part of an upgraded 5-1-1 New York system that provides New Yorkers with real-time traffic, transit and emergency services information and weather advisories.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the upgrade on January 25, one day before the city encountered yet another winter snowstorm.

“As we’ve seen with this harsh winter, it’s vital that New Yorkers have immediate access to urgent information regarding travel, transit and emergency notifications,” said Gov. Cuomo in a statement.

The application is accessible for BlackBerry, iPhone and Google Android mobile device users. Users can download it to easily access weather, transit and traffic conditions. The application, which is operated by the State Department of Transportation, can be found in respective app stores. It will be made available on additional platforms in the near future, according to the DOT.

The new services make real-time travel information, already available via phone and Web through 511NY, more accessible to people as they are traveling.

“This new app, along with additional features to this innovative DOT program, is an example of how government is making full use of the technological platforms that are not just gaining popularity, but revolutionizing how we interact,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The other additions to the DOT’s system, which was originally created in 2008, include a new web page formatted specifically for ease-of-use on smart mobile devices which is available at available at https://m.511ny.org, www.511ny.mobi or www.511ny.org/511NYMobile.

The mobile web provides traffic & transit information as well as a trip planner. Incident, construction, special event and speed information is also viewable. Users can access cameras, weather forecasts & alerts, and get travel times for bridges and tunnels.

Another addition is a free, personalized service where accounts can be customized for both phone and Web service. Users can define and save up to six traffic and transit trips and access specific information relevant to those routes. More information is available at www.511ny.org/MY511NY/.

Some motorists approve of the new features because it may make road accidents more avoidable.

“I’m glad to know an announcement was made in January as opposed to sometime in the summer because it makes people more aware. That and the fact it is in real-time definitely prevents accidents on the roads,” said Chris Taille, 31, from Bayside.

Though the DOT does state that it is illegal for motorists to use mobile hand-held devices while driving, some drivers believe that not everyone will adhere to the rules.

“People may start using that application while they are driving and accidents may happen. Not everyone will be pulling over to the side of the road when using it,” said Nat Fredericks, 46, of Bayside.

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