Inspired by the Bauhaus movement, this piece outlines the major highways that stretch across Ontario.

Original artwork by Aedán Crooke, on loan to the Information Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The piece is copyrighted by the artist and is not permitted for use outside this website or project.

Ministry of Transportation

Ontario511 helps travellers get to where they want to go, safely

With the Ministry of Transportation’s Ontario 511 service, travellers get useful, timely information about Ontario’s highways through easy-to-use channels like a mobile app, website and phone system, to make better, safer driving decisions.

The Ministry of Transportation’s Ontario 511 service provides timely information about weather-related road conditions, road work and construction, traffic incidents, road closures, and other events that impact traffic, so travellers can learn about issues affecting their travel and make safer driving choices.

Ontario 511 is delivered through multiple channels: a website; a telephone-based interactive voice recognition system; social media; and a mobile app. Registered users can choose to have personalized alerts about their regular routes sent to their smartphones or email addresses.

Notably, the Ontario 511 app was created in less than four weeks to respond to a specific need that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the declaration of a provincial emergency, it became more difficult for truck drivers to find places that were open where they could safely stop, eat, use washrooms, and rest. The app shared up-to-date information on open truck rest areas, locations offering food and fuel, construction, collisions and road closures, and images from over 600 cameras. “Driver mode” enabled hands-free access to key information and audio alerts. The Ontario 511 app helped support this critical sector’s efforts to ensure essential goods reached their destinations. The app was then expanded for use by all road users prior to the winter season of 2020-21.

Ontario 511 is one of the government’s most-visited websites, and the other channels are similarly popular. The user-focused design integrates with various travel apps and in-car infotainment systems to reach as many users as possible. Collaborations with partners, such as the Waze navigation app, enrich the service’s content. Ontario 511 shows how open data can have a direct impact on the public by enhancing traveller mobility, reducing travel delays, and increasing people’s safety on provincial roads.