Record number of users overload Arizona's 511 system

March 20, 2012

Many people who tried to use Arizona’s 511 system this past weekend couldn’t get the latest road conditions because the phone number and website were at full capacity.  As KJZZ’s Paul Atkinson reports from Phoenix, the system experienced record numbers of users.

By calling 511 or going to, motorists can get the latest information on roadway conditions, road closures, and weather.  The Arizona Department of Transportation says the line usually gets about 1,200 calls a day. 

But on Sunday, the 511 system experienced a record number of callers: 43,000.   It would have had more, but the system can only accommodate 138 phone calls at a time, so many people couldn’t get through.

The same thing happened with the website.  While it never crashed---or went down—it couldn’t handle the high volume of use.   When someone accesses a webpage, it’s called a hit, and received 4.2 million hits Sunday.  For comparison sake, the website got a total of 1.1 million hits over the first 14 days of March.

An ADOT spokesman says the agency hopes to add more phone lines to the  511 system before next winter.  No word yet on adding more capacity to its website.