[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 141 (Monday, July 23, 2001)]
[Pages 38335-38338]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-18303]



Federal Highway Administration

511 Traveler Information Telephone Number Program Support 
Assistance Program; Request for Applications

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for applications.


SUMMARY: This document requests applications for assistance from public 
agencies in developing plans for implementing systems to provide 
traveler information over the telephone using the common three-digit 

[[Page 38336]]

access number, 511. When an implementation plan exists, this assistance 
also may be used to convert existing traveler information telephone 
numbers to 511. This assistance program provides Federal funding to 
public agencies to develop regional and statewide plans for 
implementing 511 traveler information services, and/or 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 readiness of the applicant to 
develop an implementation plan for 511 services; (2) the adequacy of 
the proposed approach related to geographic areas, institutional 
coordination, and information to be provided; and/or (3) if assistance 
is to be used for converting traveler information telephone numbers, 
the readiness of the applicant to convert in a timely fashion. This 
notice replaces, in its entirety, the notice of request for 
applications for conversion to 511, published August 9, 2000, at 65 FR 

DATES: Applications for 511 program support assistance must be received 
prior to June 1, 2002. Decisions regarding the acceptance of specific 
applications for funding will be made within 60 business days of 

ADDRESSES: Applications for 511 program support assistance should be 
submitted electronically via e-mail to [email protected], or 
mailed directly to the Federal Highway Administration, Intelligent 
Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office, 511 Planning 
Support, HOIT-1, 400 Seventh St., SW., Room 3416, Washington, D.C. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Robert Rupert, Office of Travel 
Management (HOTM-1), (202) 366-2194; Mr. William S. Jones, ITS Joint 
Program Office (HOIT-1), (202) 366-2128; or Ms. Gloria Hardiman-Tobin, 
Office of Chief Counsel (HCC-32), (202) 366-0780; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Washington, D.C. 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 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 U.S. Department of 
Transportation's ITS home page at http://www.its.dot.gov.


    On March 8, 1999, the U.S. Department of Transportation petitioned 
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt a new, national 
three-digit telephone number to allow Americans to access 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 information.
    The nationwide three-digit number will utilize and significantly 
advance the intelligent transportation infrastructure already in place 
to assist some States and cities in providing traveler information. The 
traveler information will continue to be provided by private companies 
or public/private partnerships already delivering this service. The 
number will 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 will provide better 
access for emergency vehicles responding to accidents.
    The FCC placed the 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 and granted 
responsibility for it to government transportation agencies.
    Using 511 as a single number to provide traveler information that 
might now be provided by a number of telephone numbers associated with 
various transportation agencies or jurisdictions demands a significant 
degree of coordination within any State or region. Therefore, 
transportation officials must consider how a telephone call to 511 will 
be handled depending on the caller's location before they begin 
discussions with telecommunications providers to implement 511 
telephone services.
    In order to assist locations in the planning necessary to convert 
existing telephone access numbers and facilitate implementing the 511 
telephone service, the DOT developed a program to provide Federal 
funding assistance. As an initial implementation of this assistance, 
the FHWA published a notice on August 9, 2000, at 65 FR 48797, 
requesting participation in a program to help defray the costs 
associated with converting existing traveler information telephone 
numbers to 511. Based upon early applications and initial work by 
States such as Kentucky, Virginia, and Arizona, it became clear that 
some sort of assistance to areas to develop 511 traveler information 
systems would be more beneficial toward deployment of 511 services 
nationwide than just converting existing telephone numbers. Therefore, 
this 511 support assistance program replaces the earlier conversion 
program, and offers funding to State transportation departments to 
develop plans for 511 services. If 511 deployment plans exist, the 
funds may be used to defray the costs of conversion to 511 or the 
development of 511 services. The development of 511 services may 
include development of basic traveler information services, if none 
exist or are inadequate for delivery by 511. A critical element of 
developing 511 deployment plans is determining the available traveler 
information services and the ``gaps'' that may exist when considering 
statewide deployment.
    This is expected to be a two-year program beginning in fiscal year 
(FY) 2001 with approximately $5 million in Federal funds available. The 
maximum amount of Federal funding provided under this program for any 
State is limited to $100,000. The number of applications approved for 
funding each FY will depend upon the number of applications submitted 
and the total funding available for each FY.

Objectives of the 511 Support Assistance Program

    The goal of the 511 support assistance program is to accelerate the 
implementation of 511 nationwide for traveler information. Through this 
program, the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office 
(ITS-JPO) expects to enable every State to develop plans or programs 
that result in the deployment of traveler information services 
delivered through the 511 telephone number. The creation of statewide 
511 deployment plans will facilitate discussions with

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telecommunications firms on implementing 511 services, and serve as a 
key building block for a 511 system available nationwide.
    Applications for 511 support assistance may be submitted by any 
State transportation department able to serve as a facilitator or 
manager for 511 within the State, acting on behalf of the effected 
parties in the State and surrounding areas, as appropriate, for 
delivering 511 services.


    The FHWA anticipates that applications selected for funding will 
begin in FY 2001. The instrument to provide funding, on a cost 
reimbursable basis, will be an ITS partnership agreement. 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.
    Federal ITS funding for 511 support assistance may be used to:
    1. Develop materials to support, conduct, or participate in 
meetings with potential participants in 511 service programs, including 
researching available traveler information services, legal and 
regulatory issues related to traveler information and telephone 
services, and technical issues related to 511 deployment;
    2. Prepare summary materials of 511 deployment plans;
    3. System design; or
    4. Providing that a statewide 511 deployment plan exists, 
conversion of existing telephone number including software 
modifications, necessary hardware changes, and system or acceptance 

Matching Share/Cost Sharing

    There is a 20 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 ITS-JPO cost-sharing programs, 
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. The DOT regulations 
(49 CFR 18.25) require program income to be deducted from expenditures 
before billing. Given prior approval, program income can be used either 
as match or cost share.
    The ITS-JPO 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 for 511 support assistance shall consist of two 
parts: A proposed approach for coordinating the deployment of 511 and a 
financial plan, that together describe the proposed activities to be 
conducted with this funding. The complete application shall not exceed 
10 pages in length, including the 511 Deployment Coordination Approach, 
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 point.
    Applications shall be submitted in an electronic format compatible 
with Microsoft Office 2000. 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; 
otherwise, the application and its contents shall be non-proprietary.

Selection Criteria

    Applicants must submit an acceptable 511 Deployment Coordination 
Approach and Financial Plan that together provide sound evidence that a 
plan for deploying and/or converting 511 traveler information telephone 
services can successfully be completed in a timely fashion.
    Applications should be organized into the following two sections:

1. 511 Deployment Coordination Approach

    The application should describe the proposed approach for 
coordinating 511 deployment across a State or, as appropriate, across 
multiple States. The following paragraphs illustrate the general 
information that applicants should include in this section of the 
    (a) The application should describe the region(s) that will be 
included in the 511 deployment plan. This may include neighboring 
States or other jurisdictions that will need to be included as 511 
services are deployed, as well as metropolitan areas within the State. 
At a minimum, the State should be considered as the total region to be 
addressed for 511 deployment in the plan.
    (b) The application should identify candidate agencies or 
organizations that will be engaged in discussions about deploying 511 
services. These organizations may include, but not limited to: Highway 
and transit operating agencies, public safety agencies, sources of 
traveler information, regulatory agencies, and telephone service 
providers. It is expected that the slate of organizations, agencies, 
and firms involved in deploying 511 will be adjusted as deployment 
plans are developed.
    (c) The application should discuss institutional or organizational 
issues that will affect the deployment of 511 services, and what 
candidate techniques or activities will be used to address these 
issues. Prior activities that identified or addressed 511 deployment 
issues may be described in this section to provide a complete portrayal 
of the breadth of effort by the applicant to develop a plan for 
regional deployment. If a 511 deployment plan is completed and the 
requested funding will be used for converting existing telephone 
numbers to 511, a copy of the 511 deployment plan should be included.
    (d) The application should describe the expected product(s) of the 
activities described in paragraph (c) of this section. It is expected 
that reports, plans, presentations, or other discrete outputs would be 
produced by these activities for use by the applicant. The applicant 
should propose which of these products, in addition to the 511 
deployment plan, may serve as deliverables to the ITS-JPO under any 
resultant agreement from this request. The final deliverables will be 
determined in negotiations between the ITS-JPO and the selected 

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    (e) The application should include a proposed schedule or timeline 
depicting the development of the 511 deployment plan. The schedule 
should include milestone events or targeted activities, especially 
indicating any activities that require ITS-JPO actions or actions by 
organizations typically not influenced by the applying agency. The 
schedule should also indicate targets for delivery of any products or 
outputs from development activities.

2. Financial Plan

    The Financial Plan should demonstrate that sufficient funding is 
available to successfully complete all aspects of the proposed 
development of the 511 deployment plan as described in section 1. 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 
activities leading to the development of a comprehensive plan for 
deploying 511 services, and a commitment that no more than 80 percent 
of the total cost will be supported by these Federal ITS funds. As 
appropriate, financial commitments from other public agencies and from 
private firms should be documented in appropriate documents, such as 
memorandums of understanding.
    (b) Describe how the 511 deployment plan will be developed to 
ensure its timely implementation and the continued, long-term 
operations of the system.
    (c) As appropriate, include corresponding public and/or private 
investments that minimize the relative percentage and amount of Federal 
ITS funds, and evidence of continuing fiscal capacity and commitment 
from anticipated public and private sources.

Alternate Use of Funding

    If a 511 deployment plan is developed and development activities do 
not exhaust all funding allocated under agreements resulting from this 
request, or if a 511 deployment plan exists, this funding may be used 
to offset the capital costs associated with converting traveler 
information telephone numbers to 511. Conversion activities that will 
be considered appropriate include telephone call routing or other call 
handling software modifications, necessary hardware changes, and system 
or acceptance testing. In addition, upon completion of a 511 deployment 
plan, this funding may also be used toward activities to develop 511 
services. These activities may include development of basic traveler 
information services if none exist or are inadequate for delivery by 
    Financial records shall be maintained that detail the activities or 
equipment provided by Federal funding, indicating appropriate total 
matching requirements, as described under the heading, Matching Share/
Cost Sharing. As noted under that heading, the ITS-JPO 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 

    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: July 12, 2001.
Christine M. Johnson,
Program Manager, Operations Director, ITS Joint Program Office.
[FR Doc. 01-18303 Filed 7-20-01; 8:45 am]