The Kansas Department of Transportation said it witnessed a major spike in its new KanDrive mobile phone application and the Kansas 511 phone system by motorists over the last two months of 2022.
[Above image by the Kansas DOT]
Those usage spikes follow updates the agency made to both of them in October 2022, which included making the KanDrive app available to download as an App on Android and iPhone Operating System or iOS cell phones.
Kansas DOT overhauled its traveler information website, KanDrive.org, in October 2020 so it could provide motorists driving through the state with more user-friendly and timely details so they can make better travel decisions.
The agency noted that from November through December 2022, KanDrive App sessions jumped from 6,919 to 44,118 – a 538 percent increase. Meanwhile, during that same two-month timeframe, the number of 511 calls received by Kansas DOT expanded 368 percent – rising from 3,356 to 15,723.
“Impacts to traffic – whether snow, ice, flooding, construction activities or a major crash – are updated around the clock on KanDrive to assist the public in making informed travel decisions,” said Kevin Hennes, the Kansas DOT administrator for KanDrive, in a statement. “Providing options to receive this timely information is a huge benefit for motorists.”
He noted that the KanDrive App contains all account features on the KanDrive website, but also includes a hands-free/eye-free feature that announces upcoming traffic events while traveling.
The 511 system’s voice quality and speech recognition features have been improved, allowing motorists to ask for reports on a specific route, in a city or between two cities. The main connection of these systems is the KanDrive road condition website, created by Kansas DOT in 2009.
The agency said KanDrive website usage generally decreases in the summer while expanding in the winter, with motorists using it to learn how much and how long storms are impacting highways.
In 2022, traffic to the KanDrive website averaged more than 141,000 site hits per month. However, from November to December, KanDrive website traffic escalated from 65,674 to 407,398 visits – a 520 percent increase.
Other state departments of transportation are also engaged in overhauls of their 511 information services.
For example, the Idaho Transportation Department is launching a new Idaho 511 App alongside an update to its 511 website. Beginning January 23, motorists will need to download a new version of the 511 mobile application to their mobile devices. However, the agency said the web address, 511.idaho.gov, and phone number, dial 511, will stay the same.