511 Questions and Answers
Québec 511 is part of a North American approach to providing weather and traveller information services through an abbreviated 511 telephone number already available in several American administrations or States, as well as in four Canadian provinces and in one Canadian territory. The purpose of this integrated multimodal portal is to facilitate access to information on transportation, by telephone, smart phone and on the Web, to help road users plan their trips better throughout Québec. The information, which is obtained, in part, as a result of partnerships between the Ministère and municipalities or public bodies, such as Ville de Montréal, the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) and the Canada Border Services Agency, covers, for example, winter road conditions, roadwork, major incidents, weather alerts, availability of ferry services (open or closed) and waiting times at border crossings. Information on the website also includes traffic camera images, services offered at rest areas, etc.
The deployment of Québec 511 was made possible by the participation of the ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) in the 511 Consortium directed by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada (ITS Canada), for reservation of the 511 number, and by the MTQ’s leading role in the development of applications related to intelligent transportation systems in Québec.
Is this service accessible in every region of Québec?
The Québec 511 telephone service is accessible everywhere in Québec and works on all telephony systems. All you have to do is call 511 for instant access, free of charge.
How can I call Québec 511 if I am outside the province of Québec?
You can call Québec 511 toll-free from anywhere in North America at 1 888 355-0511.
What kind of information can I get from Québec 511?
Québec 511, which you can access by telephone, smart phone and on the Web, is the only official source of transportation information necessary to plan safe trips on the Québec road network, all year round. It is also the place to report an incident on the road network, obtain information on any subject related to the mission of the ministère des Transports, or make a comment or complaint.
The services available may vary according to the consultation mode chosen, but they are always current and as up-to-date as possible.
- The telephone component of Québec 511 provides information on:
- winter road conditions;
- hindrances resulting from roadwork;
- major incidents;
- weather alerts;
- the availability of ferry services (open or closed); and
- waiting times at border crossings.
- The Web component provides the same information, but also gives access to:
- traffic camera images (Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Saguenay, Tadoussac and border crossings);
- services offered at rest areas and villages-relais;
- the Trucking zone, in which you will find a list of all bridges and overpasses subject to weight limitations and data related to vertical clearance under bridges and overpasses;
- the Bicycle Friendliness section, a new tool which helps cyclists find the safest and most bicycle-friendly roads;
- a Road Traffic option, on the Québec interactive map, which provides information on the flow of traffic through an indicator fed by Google Traffic; and
- the Mobility Montréal section, which gathers useful information from Transports Québec and its partners to make commuting easier for road users in the Greater Montréal area. This section includes:
- an interactive map displaying all roadwork under the responsibility of the Ministère in a given region and the main roadwork under the responsibility of Ville de Montréal;
- a “Get Directions” tool which displays all roadwork on the route obtained;
- links to RSS feeds for the Champlain, Honoré-Mercier and Jacques-Cartier bridges;
- links to partners’ websites or information pages (municipalities and transportation companies);
- links to programs promoting the use of public transit: employer program and transit passes.
Over the telephone, you can search for information by route, by road or by access point (for example, a bridge, a border crossing or a ferry).
The automated system also provides an estimate of the travelling distance for requests regarding given routes.
Can I talk to a representative to obtain information?
Yes. The general information service is available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Select 3 from the general menu to talk to a representative.
Is Québec 511 adapted to people who have speech, visual or hearing impairments?
Québec 511 Web is compliant with the WCAG standard (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), required by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). It is also compliant with the requirements of the gouvernement du Québec’s standard on website accessibility (consult the Web accessibility page on the Ministère’s website for more details). Most of the web content is in HTML language or in ASCII (text format). However, special software is required to interpret content presented in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) and Adobe Flash.
The Québec 511 telephone service works by voice recognition, but also allows users to request information from a telephone keypad. This functionality allows users with elocution or other difficulties to consult Québec 511.
If I have a breakdown or an emergency on the highway or on the freeway, can I call Québec 511 for assistance?
It is preferable to call 911 for any emergency (310-4141 in municipalities not served by 911 and *4141 if you call using a cell phone). However, if you notice a specific situation that concerns the ministère des Transports, such as debris on the roadway, you can call 511 (option 2) at any time to report this situation to one of our representatives.
Where does the information provided on Québec 511 come from?
Informing the general public is a priority for the ministère des Transports. Aware of the potentially disruptive effects of the events in progress on its road network, the Ministère has adopted information transmission procedures and dissemination tools to reach users, road professionals and its various partners. Teams throughout the province regularly update the information provided through Québec 511. Updates are captured in the MTQ’s information dissemination applications and transferred to Québec 511 within minutes.
For many years, the MTQ has disseminated information on winter road conditions and roadwork under its responsibility, particularly through public relays. Québec 511 also disseminates information coming from MTQ partners, such as Ville de Montréal, the Société des traversiers du Québec and the Canada Border Services Agency.
How often is the information updated on Québec 511?
Information concerning major events in progress on the road network and resulting in significant hindrances is updated every time new developments occur or as soon as the event ends.
Information on winter road conditions is updated at least once a day or whenever changes occur. The information provided reflects the current conditions on a given segment.
Information on roadwork is updated at each major step and when the work is over.
Once the information is captured in the information processing systems, it is made available on Québec 511 within 5 minutes.
How much will it cost me to call Québec 511?
If you are in Québec, use of the Québec 511 service is free.
Is there a way to obtain an automatic status update for a specific road?
You can receive, instantly and free of charge, on your computer or on your smart phone, the latest information updates regarding the Québec road network. All you have to do is access the Québec 511 website (info) and go to the RSS Subscriptions section to subscribe.
To display XML content on your smart phone or on your computer, you need an RSS reader or an RSS web module.
The RSS feeds* are not exclusive to Québec 511. Several software products offer this service. Many RSS feed readers are offered on the Web; while some must be purchased, others can be downloaded free of charge.
Does the ministère des Transports plan to improve its Québec 511 service by using new technologies?
The MTQ attaches great importance to providing traveller information. It is constantly on the lookout for technological innovations in the transportation field that can improve safety and facilitate road travel. The MTQ is always considering new technologies applied to intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and information dissemination tools that would allow users of its road network to plan their trips better, taking into account traffic hindrances (accidents, roadwork, road congestion, etc.).
Is it permissible to consult Québec 511 while driving?
No. The use of hand-held devices with a telephone function, such as cell phones or smart phones (for example, BlackBerry, iPhone, etc.), is prohibited when driving. Operating an automobile requires your full attention and concentration. While at the wheel, you must maintain constant vigilance because of the many unexpected situations that can occur on the road. Using such devices is a major source of distraction. According to a study conducted in Québec, a driver who uses a cell phone has a 38% higher risk of having an accident. The risk of committing a Highway Safety Code offence (for example, running a red light, not making a compulsory stop) also increases.
How can I obtain information on the condition of the road network, such as winter road conditions, in neighbouring States or provinces?
There is a Neighbouring Road Networks section on the web component of Québec 511. This gives you access to links to the 511 services of the States and provinces bordering on Québec. However, for the time being, this service is not available through the telephone component of Québec 511. Partnerships with neighbouring provinces or States are currently under study.
* Web syndication format based on XML language, allowing web page content to be indexed automatically and made available to Web users instantaneously.