(September 9, 2012)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has won two Best of New York awards from the Center for Digital Government – the Most Innovative Use of Social Media award and the Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management award – for the Department’s 511NY traffic conditions notification system.
"With the NY Works program making investments to repair thousands of miles of highway and hundreds of bridges, 511NY is a useful tool for drivers to avoid traffic delays," Governor Cuomo said. "New York's Transportation Department has been leading the charge in rebuilding our state's infrastructure. My administration has focused on making government work effectively for the people, and these awards recognize the innovation and leadership of DOT in ensuring New Yorkers have access to the information they need to make smart driving decisions. I commend Commissioner McDonald and her entire team at DOT for their dedication and hard work."
The annual Best of New York awards recognizes New York’s top technology leaders and teams from state agencies and local governments for contributions, best practices and works of distinction in information technology.
Joan McDonald, Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, said, "I am very pleased the Department has been honored by the Center for Digital Government. We have been working diligently to connect New Yorkers and out of state travelers with real-time traffic, transit and travel information. Our early advocacy for the use of social media by the Department reaches thousands of travelers in the online and mobile places they already frequent. All New Yorkers benefit from 511NY, which allows travelers to make smart choices and avoid congestion, which leads to more efficient travel and a decrease in fossil fuel consumption."
The Department and Todd Westhuis, Acting Director of NYSDOT’s Office of Traffic Safety and Mobility, were recognized at a ceremony hosted by the Center for Digital Government this week in Albany.
511NY is New York’s one-stop travel information service that informs drivers about traffic conditions across the state. In July, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the release of a re-vamped 511NY website and other features. This included new mobile apps, improved social media connections and additional alert features that give drivers real-time updates about construction trouble spots and bridge construction work that are under way as part of the Governor Cuomo’s NY Works program. The updated 511NY site allows users to personalize their maps with familiar routes so that they do not have to repeatedly search for updates.
511NY was implemented on time and under budget in New York City in November 2008 and rolled out statewide six months later. Since then, 511NY has continued to improve with enhancements, including the new features that arrived this summer. It is the most comprehensive 511 system in the nation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) designated it as a national model for other states to follow as they implement and enhance their 511 traveler information systems.
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center is a division of e.Republic, a national publishing, event and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation.
The use of social media by NYSDOT through its 511 program has greatly expanded the reach of its distribution of travel information to New Yorkers. The Department implemented automated Twitter feeds to broadcast highway and transit information throughout the state, both on a statewide basis and broken down by region. Within New York City, the Department also offers feeds for individual subway and transit lines. The Department’s 511NY service also has a presence on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Pintrest. During Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in August and September 2011, user volume increased dramatically on 511NY’s Facebook page and Twitter feeds.