Friday, April 15, 2011

Georgia DOT Re-Launches Improved NaviGAtor 511 Travel Information System: Features New Technology, Smart-Phone App & Sponsorship Partners

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Georgia Department of Transportation, home of one of the most popular, heavily used real-time traveler information systems in the country, today unveiled the next generation of Georgia NaviGAtor 511. The new system brings new features and, through a public-private partnership, new sponsors, allowing the Department and its 511 provider, Meridian Environmental Technology, Inc., an Iteris company, to operate and maintain the system at no cost to Georgia taxpayers.

“People are very mobile and need to know traffic and road conditions before and during their trip”

This is the first major upgrade of the Georgia NaviGAtor 511 system since its inception for the 1996 Olympic Games and is part of a federal effort to establish traveler information services nationwide. The new platform creates a foundation for many new traveler information enhancements planned for the future, such as statewide congestion reporting and 511 services in Spanish.

PepsiCo, and its blockbuster-selling brand, Mountain Dew, is the first nationally-recognized brand to sponsor the state’s new Georgia NaviGAtor 511 system. Company promotions will lead the system’s sponsorship program, complete with Mountain Dew truck-back artwork and sponsor messaging on 511 services.

“By engaging sponsorship opportunities, we can continue to provide vital services to travelers in a time of unprecedented funding challenges,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Vance C. Smith, Jr. “Our ongoing mission is to keep travelers safe and informed and to provide for their mobility throughout the state. The Department is recognized as a national leader in traveler information services and this represents a natural growth and progression of that innovation.”

One feature new to the NaviGAtor 511 system is the 511 App, the official traveler information mobile phone application of Georgia. It provides real-time, location-based traveler information on Georgia’s highways, digital coupons and promotions as well as other special offers of interest to travelers.

“The original Georgia NaviGAtor system served the state well for many years, but it was limited relative to what we can offer with today’s technology,” said Mark Demidovich, Assistant State Traffic Engineer. “We’ve retained most of the features that our users favored; added a mobile app with special offers for travelers; and established a robust foundation for future NaviGAtor and 511 expansions.”

The integrated Georgia NaviGAtor 511 sponsorship program includes four program components:

* The 511 phone system, developed by Meridian, which has received over 5 million calls since inception in August 2007 and is being expanded to accommodate brief sponsor messages and future concierge-style services;
* The main Georgia NaviGAtor website, 511ga.org, redesigned and developed by Meridian, Iteris, and partners,
* The mobile app, developed by 511Live, LLC, now available as a free download for iPhone users (Blackberry and Droid apps coming soon); and,
* Signs on the state right-of-way to promote the 511 program and its sponsors, managed by Revelation Outdoor, LLC.

**Georgia NaviGator, 511 App and integrated sponsorship programs, promoted and managed by 511Live, LLC.

“People are very mobile and need to know traffic and road conditions before and during their trip,” said Leon Osborne, president and CEO of Meridian Environmental Technology, Inc. “The new NaviGAtor website and mobile app will make it easier to plan trips, avoid problem areas, and reach destinations more quickly and safely."

To demonstrate the power of the system, the new applications, and the special offers available, Georgia 511 is planning a major summer promotion to coincide with the summer travel and construction season.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is committed to providing a safe, seamless, and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to both its citizens and its environment. For general information on the Georgia DOT, please visit www.dot.ga.gov.

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