FHWA Acting Administrator Rick Capka
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Launch of Florida 511 Telephone and Internet service
November 17, 2005, Orlando, FL
My thanks to Governor Bush and Secretary Stutler for their leadership in helping us reach this day.
President Bush, Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta, and all of us at Federal Highways know that congestion is one of the most serious challenges facing our surface transportation system today. That's why the U.S. Transportation Department is working to help drivers avoid gridlock, take the stress and uncertainty out of travel, and keep our economy on the move.
The new transportation act, signed by President Bush just a few months ago, invests a record amount in new highway, transit and safety programs. And it gives states more resources and flexibility to deploy real time transportation management systems like the one we're launching today.
We know that using innovative technologies helps people and goods get to their destinations safely and on time.
NEAR TERM SOLUTION
Florida is a national leader in using innovative technology to improve mobility and safety. That's a big reason why Federal Highways provided your state a $10 million grant to bring traffic-fighting tools together in the iFlorida system.
A key component is the 511 telephone and website service. By logging on to the website or by making a simple call, Floridians can get up-to-the minute information on traffic jams, road construction and alternative routes to avoid congestion.
With today's launch, more than 90 million Americans have access to 511 service.
iFlorida has a simple goal: By helping drivers steer clear of trouble, we're fighting the traffic problems that frustrate our lives, waste time and fuel, and stifle economic opportunity.
A new FHWA report shows that about 60 percent of highway delays have nothing to do with bottlenecks -- places where traffic exceeds the capacity of the road. We're slowed down by a combination of crashes, bad weather, construction zones, special events, and poor signal timing. Those are exactly the kind of problems that iFlorida is designed to tackle.
iFlorida helps transportation officials respond more quickly to incidents on our highways. And it gives all of us up-to-the-minute information through the statewide 511 number and a convenient web site. The 511 system will also serve as an invaluable tool during hurricane season when the most current highway information is especially crucial.
MODEL FOR THE NATION
iFlorida is a model for the rest of the nation.
It's a glimpse into the future of making travel times more reliable and making the best use of our highways. After an evaluation period, we'll share a "how to do it" package with agencies around the country . . . so that drivers and businesses can more easily plan their trips, across Florida today, and soon across the country.
The Bush Administration, as I said, wants to improve travel for all Americans, whether on the road to work or to home, on the way to their child's ball game, or visiting some of the world's greatest attractions here in Orlando.
With iFlorida as a model and a guide, we're on the way!