While the weather prediction for today is warm and sunny, the 511 Traveler Information Map (511.ksdot.org) may look like a blizzard is covering the state, said Kansas Department of Transportation spokesperson Barb Blue.
The 511 Map will undergo a live simulation test from approximately 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today to test its ability to handle information requests when the entire state highway system has snow and ice conditions. During the test, all the highways on the map will display colors simulating snow and ice conditions.
Blue said KDOT staff will then use special software to bombard the site with thousands of information requests in a short time to identify the stress point at which the map’s performance slows or stops.
During the test, information about road work activities and incidents will be real but may not display as the stress point is approached. Users can turn off the snow and ice condition colors by un-checking “Roadway Weather Conditions” in the legend on the left side of the map.
The real highway information will be available in the “Driving Conditions List” and will be listed separately from the simulated snow and ice conditions, Blue said.
While the 511 Map is being tested, the weather information won’t be updated on the 511 phone system. The last reported conditions prior to the test period will be reported throughout the test period. Travelers who call the 511 system will be informed of the test and reporting of road conditions during the test by an introductory message. KDOT anticipates the highways to have normal, seasonal driving conditions during the test period. Current road work activities and incidents will be reported on 511 as these reports won’t be affected by the test. Travelers can access the 511 phone system by calling 5-1-1 from anywhere in Kansas or 1-866-511-KDOT (5368) from anywhere in the U.S.
The testing is necessary for reliable service during winter inclement weather, Blue said.