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70 CHAPTER 4 Conclusions and Recommendations This chapter summarizes the major findings and conclu- ical participation in a 511 system is unlikely to provide any sions of the study and presents recommendations. Conclusions significant direct benefits to most transit customers or to the are organized into four categories, the first three of which focus transit agency. on the primary study objectives related to the national experi- Participation in a 511 system demonstrates support for the ences with, and implications of, transit agency participation concept of 511 as a multimodal resource, strengthens part- in 511 telephone information systems. The fourth category of nering relationships with the 511 system administrator, and conclusions pertains to the implications that call center tech- may provide useful information to the relatively few transit nologies and practices used outside the transit industry hold users who find their way to a 511 system. However, because for transit agencies. 511 systems are very seldom effectively marketed to transit Recommendations are organized into three categories. The users and typically contain, at best, a subset of the informa- first category provides guidance that will assist transit agen- tion and resources available via the normally well-publicized cies and 511 system administrators in determining their ap- transit agency customer service line, 511 systems will not rep- proaches to transit information content and features on 511. resent a key component of many transit agencies' customer The second category provides transit agencies guidance on service strategies. advanced call center strategies overall. The third category of The remainder of this section summarizes the major find- recommendations, which are addressed to TCRP, identify a ings and elaborates on the conclusions related to transit agency plan for implementing study findings. participation in 511 systems. Conclusions are presented in five subsections. The first provides an overview of the num- ber of 511 systems that include transit information and the 4.1 Conclusions kind of transit information included. The second subsec- Study conclusions are summarized in the sections that tion describes the lack of correlation between transit agency follow. size and sophistication and 511 participation. The remaining three sections explore various facets of transit agency experi- ence with 511 gleaned from the 29 transit agency case studies 4.1.1 Transit Agency Participation that were completed. These facets include agencies' rationale in 511 Systems for 511 participation or non-participation, impacts of partic- The most fundamental objective of this study was to re- ipation, and future 511-related plans. search transit agency experience with 511 telephone infor- mation systems and, based on that research, summarize the National Overview of 511 Systems opportunities, costs, benefits, and risks associated with 511 and Transit Participation participation. The overall conclusion is that for the vast ma- jority of transit agencies, participation in a 511 system will Seven years after the FCC designation of 511 as the national impose no significant costs or risks. Participation in a 511 sys- telephone number for traveler information, many 511 systems tem is very unlikely to increase the total number of calls to a have been deployed but numerous areas of the country still transit customer service center and in almost every case no lack 511 systems. Forty-two 511 systems are operational in the special transit agency technologies or capabilities are needed United States; 30 of them are statewide systems and 12 cover to enable participation. However, it was also found that typ- only specific regions. Fifteen states have no 511 systems at all.