Louisiana's DOT knows how to help motorists get where they need to go. And frankly, they've had too much practice under the most stressful situations. As Hurricane Isaac approached Louisiana this week, the state's Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) was quick to remind citizens they can get the latest updates on real-time traffic and road conditions by using the 511 Traveler Information System.

"DOTD will work closely with local and state police to close roads, as needed," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas, P.E. "Motorists are strongly encouraged to access the 511 Traveler Information System to receive up-to-the-minute information on road closures. Knowing road conditions before leaving home can help motorists make critical decisions about their route.”

When people need to evacuate, accessing the best information available is nothing less than critical. It's that simple. And fortunately, the 511 system delivered.

In Louisiana this week the 511 system that usually fields about 400 calls per day daily is fielding more than 3,000 calls daily as motorists navigate out of harm's way, says Amber Leach, the DOTD's public information officer. In addition to the high call volume, they've also received more than 2,000 hits to the 511 mobile website and main website.

She added, "511 is very good because as the storm moves further in, we'll definitely have a lot of closures and this way everyone can get the most up-to-date information for what's going on."

The voice-activated 511 Traveler Information Service is available in many states to most wireless and landline telephone users. The service allows callers to access up-to-date information about weather-related road conditions, construction activities and other critical incidents simply by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region about which they are seeking information. Out of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Travelers in Louisiana can also access information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information Web site at www.511LA.org.

On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana's lessons learned can benefit all of us.