[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 154 (Wednesday, August 9, 2000)]
[Pages 48797-48799]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-20083]



Federal Highway Administration

Conversion of Traveler Information Telephone Numbers to 511; 
Request for Participation

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for participation.


SUMMARY: This document requests applications from public agencies for 
assistance in converting existing traveler information telephone 
numbers to the common three-digit national access number, 511. This 
assistance program provides Federal funding to public agencies to help 
defray the costs of telephone service providers in converting traveler 
information telephone numbers. Applications in response to this notice 
will be assessed to determine: (1) The level of coordination of the 
applicant with other agencies in the effected areas to reach agreement 
on a conversion approach for all traveler information numbers in the 
effected region; (2) the readiness of the applicant to convert traveler 
information telephone numbers in a timely fashion; and (3) the quality 
of the traveler information to be provided.

DATES: Applications to participate in the conversion of traveler 
information telephone numbers to 511 will be accepted anytime. 
Decisions regarding the acceptance of specific applications for funding 
will be made within 60 business days of receipt.

ADDRESSES: Applications to participate in the conversion of traveler 
information telephone numbers to 511 should be submitted directly to 
the Federal Highway Administration, Intelligent Transportation Systems 
(ITS) Joint Program Office, 511 Conversion, HOIT-1, 400 Seventh St. 
SW., Room 3416, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.

Program Office (HOIT-1), (202) 366-2128; Mr. Robert Rupert, Office of 
Travel Management (HOTM-1), (202) 366-2194; or Mr. Wilbert Baccus, 
Office of Chief Counsel (HCC-32), (202) 366-1346; Department of 
Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.


Electronic Access

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem 
and suitable communications software from

[[Page 48798]]

the Government Printing Office's Electronic Bulletin Board Service at 
(202) 512-1661. Internet users may reach the Office of the Federal 
Register's home page at http://www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government 
Printing Office's web page at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.
    The document may also be viewed at the DOT's ITS home page at 


    On March 8, 1999, the U.S. DOT petitioned the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt a new, national three-digit 
telephone number to allow Americans on the move access to on-the-spot 
transportation and traveler information, such as, road conditions and 
bus schedules. The burgeoning traffic reporter industry reflects the 
hunger that citizens have for more travel information, and the positive 
role the government can play as a partner in providing that 
    The nationwide three-digit number would utilize and significantly 
advance the intelligent transportation infrastructure already in place 
to assist some 45 States and cities in providing traveler information. 
The traveler information would continue to be provided by private 
companies or public/private partnerships already delivering this 
service. The number would provide information about bad weather, 
construction, or traffic jams that cause delays for businesses and the 
general public, as well as information about the status of transit 
buses, ferries, light rail, and other public transportation in local 
communities. In addition, by directing drivers away from congestion and 
hazardous conditions, the nationwide three-digit number would provide 
better access for emergency vehicles responding to accidents.
    The FCC placed the U.S. DOT's petition in its docket (File No. NSD-
L-99-24, CC Docket 92-105; 57 FR 22681, May 29, 1992), and comments 
submitted to the FCC were favorable to adoption of a national three-
digit traveler information number. On July 21, 2000, the FCC assigned 
511 as the nationwide traveler information telephone number.
    In order to assist locations in converting existing telephone 
access numbers and facilitate implementing the 511 telephone service, 
the U.S. DOT developed a program of assistance to provide Federal 
funding to help defray the costs to convert existing traveler 
information telephone numbers to 511. This notice and request for 
participation implements that assistance.
    This is anticipated as a three-year program with a total of up to 
$5 million of Federal funds available, and program funding beginning in 
fiscal year (FY) 2000. The maximum amount of Federal funding provided 
for any individual application is limited to $50,000. The number of 
applications approved for funding each FY will depend upon the number 
of applications submitted, the amount of assistance requested, and the 
total funding available (anticipated to be up to $2 million) for each 

Objectives of the Traveler Information Telephone Conversion Program

    The goal of the Traveler Information Telephone Conversion Program 
is to accelerate the implementation of telephone number 511 nationwide 
for traveler information. Through this program, the U.S. DOT expects to 
enable the approximately 300 existing telephone numbers used to access 
traveler information around the country to be converted to 511, as 
approved by the FCC for traveler information.
    Applications for the Traveler Information Telephone Conversion 
Program may be submitted by any public agency capable of receiving 
Federal funds, entering into agreements with telephone service 
providers, and acting on behalf of the effected parties in the 
geographic area specified in the application.


    It is anticipated that conversions selected for funding will begin 
in FY 2000. Federal funding authority is derived from section 
5001(a)(5) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-
21), Public Law 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, 419 (1998). Actual award of 
funds will be subject to funding availability. The anticipated amount 
of funding available in each FY is up to $2 million.
    Federal ITS funding for the traveler information telephone 
conversion program may be used to support:
    1. System design;
    2. Conversion support including software modifications and 
necessary hardware changes; and
    3. System and acceptance testing.

Matching Share/Cost Sharing

    There is a twenty percent matching share that must be from non-
federally derived funding sources, as statutorily required, and must 
consist of either cash, substantial equipment contributions that are 
wholly utilized as an integral part of the project, or personnel 
services dedicated full-time to the proposed integrated deployment for 
a substantial period, as long as such personnel are not otherwise 
supported with Federal funds. The non-federally derived funding may 
come from State, local government, or private sector partners. Note 
that funding identified to support continued operations, maintenance, 
and management of the system will not be considered as part of the 
partnership's cost-share contribution.
    In an ITS partnership, as with other U.S. DOT cost-sharing grants, 
it is inappropriate for a fee to be included in the proposed budget as 
part of a partner's contribution to the project. This does not prohibit 
appropriate fee payments to vendors or others that may provide goods or 
services to the partnership. It also does not prohibit business 
relationships with the private sector, which result in revenues from 
the sale or provision of ITS products or services. U.S. DOT regulations 
require grant income to be deducted from expenditures before billing. 
Given prior approval, grant income can be used either as match or cost 
    The U.S. DOT and the Comptroller General of the United States have 
the right to access all documents pertaining to the use of Federal ITS 
funds and non-Federal contributions. Non-Federal partners must maintain 
sufficient documentation to substantiate these costs. Such items as 
direct labor, fringe benefits, material costs, consultant costs, public 
involvement costs, subcontractor costs, and travel costs should be 
included in that documentation.

Instructions to Applicants

    An application to participate in the conversion of traveler 
information telephone numbers to 511 shall consist of three parts: 
Regional Coordination Arrangements, a Technical Plan, and a Financial 
Plan that together describe the proposed conversion approach. The 
complete application shall not exceed 20 pages in length, including the 
Regional Coordination Arrangements, the Technical Plan, the Financial 
Plan, the title page, index, and tables. A page is defined as one side 
of an 8\1/2\ by 11-inch paper, with a type font no smaller than 12 
    Applications shall be submitted in an electronic format compatible 
with Microsoft Office 1997. The cover sheet or title page of the 
application shall include the name, address, and phone number of an 
individual to whom correspondence and questions about the application 
may be directed. Any portion of the application or its contents that 
may contain proprietary information shall be clearly indicated;

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otherwise, the application and its contents shall be non-proprietary.

Selection Criteria

    Applicants must submit acceptable Regional Coordination, Technical, 
and Financial Plans that together provide sound evidence that the 
proposed conversion can successfully be completed in a timely fashion.
    Proposals should be organized into the following three sections:

1. Regional Coordination Arrangements

    The proposed conversion should demonstrate a coordination among 
affected agencies and firms in reaching agreement to convert existing 
traveler information telephone numbers to 511. Letters of agreement, 
memorandums of understanding (MOUs), and other documents shall be 
referenced and included as appropriate.
    (a) The application should discuss current working relationships, 
existing cooperation, and information sharing among State, local, and 
other relevant public agencies, and the private sector for the 
dissemination of travel information services. The proposed conversion 
should demonstrate a commitment to cooperation among agencies, 
jurisdictions, and the private sector.
    (b) The application should discuss any institutional or 
organizational issues that arose during discussions with affected 
parties, and the resolution of these issues. Any key decisions related 
to the timely implementation of the conversion shall be identified, 
especially if the decisions have not been made prior to application 
    (c) Memorandums of understanding, or other appropriate 
documentation, that clearly define the responsibilities and 
relationships of all parties, including institutional relationships and 
financial agreements needed to support the conversion, should be 
attached to the application.

2. Technical Plan

    The Technical Plan shall describe how the proposed conversion will 
take place and describe the quality of the traveler information to be 
provided. The Technical Plan shall demonstrate that the appropriate 
telephone service providers have provided detailed plans and schedules 
for telephone number conversions.
    In addition, an acceptable Technical Plan should:
    (a) Contain an operational concept and technical approach that 
demonstrate how the proposed conversion will be fully implemented, as 
well as any incremental stages leading to full implementation. The 
specific roles and responsibilities of the all parties should be 
    (b) Contain a technical approach that responds to traveler 
information needs of the entire affected area. A description of the 
affected area, including geographic size and major jurisdictions 
served. Any data or information exchanges among traveler information 
services and/or telephone service providers should be described along 
with implementation schedules.
    (c) Describe the type(s) of information that will be available to a 
caller, and the method that will be used to access information. 
Descriptions of the information will include how frequently it is 
updated, any variations in details provided across the affected 
geographic area, any variations in coverage or details based on the 
time of the day, and the primary source(s) of the information, e.g., 
construction schedules, transit schedules, transportation management 
systems, enforcement dispatch systems.
    (d) Demonstrate that the proposed system follows the privacy 
principles developed by ITS America. For further information, see 
``References and Note to Applicants'' below. Where the privacy 
principles conflict with applicable Federal and State law, the latter 
shall prevail.

    References and Note to Applicants: The ITS privacy principles 
are available from ITS AMERICA, 400 Virginia Avenue SW., Suite 800, 
Washington, DC 20024, telephone (202) 484-4847. The document is also 
available on the Internet at http://www.itsa.org.

3. Financial Plan

    The Financial Plan should demonstrate that sufficient funding is 
available to successfully complete all aspects of the proposed 
conversion as described in the Technical Plan. The Financial Plan 
should also provide the financial information described under the 
heading, Matching Share/Cost Sharing.
    An acceptable Financial Plan should:
    (a) Provide a clear identification of the proposed funding for the 
conversion of traveler information telephone numbers to 511, and a 
commitment that no more than 80 percent of the total cost will be 
supported by these Federal ITS funds. All financial commitments, from 
both the public and private sectors, should be documented in signed 
MOUs, or other appropriate documents.
    (b) Describe how the conversion will be implemented and how the 
traveler information service(s) will be operated to ensure the timely 
implementation and the continued, long-term operations of the system.
    (c) Include documented evidence of continuing fiscal capacity and 
commitment from anticipated public and private sources.
    (d) Include corresponding public and/or private investments that 
minimize the relative percentage and amount of Federal ITS funds.

    Authority: sec. 5001(a)(5), Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, 420; 
23 U.S.C. 315; and 49 CFR 1.48.

    Issued on: August 1, 2000.
Kenneth R. Wykle,
Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. 00-20083 Filed 8-8-00; 8:45 am]