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Québec 511 > 511 Questions and Answers

511 Questions and Answers

What is Québec 511?

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 U.S. administrations or States, as well as in most Canadian provinces. 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, availability of ferry services (open or closed) and waiting times at Canadian 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 in the 511 Consortium directed by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada (ITS Canada), for reservation of the 511 number, and by the Ministère’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, 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
  • the availability of ferry services (open or closed)
  • waiting times at border crossings
The telephone service provides information by route, by road or by access point, such as a bridge, a border crossing or a ferry.

The Web component provides the same information, but also gives access to:
  • traffic camera images (Gatineau, 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 subject to weight limitations and data related to vertical clearance under bridges
  • 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
  • the Mobility Montréal section, which gathers useful information from the Ministère and its partners to make commuting easier for road users in the Greater Montréal area
Can I talk to an agent to obtain information?

Yes. The general information service is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Select 3 from the general menu to talk to an agent.

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, 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. 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 Ministère’s information dissemination applications and transferred to Québec 511 within minutes.

For many years, the Ministère has disseminated information on winter road conditions and roadwork under its responsibility, particularly through public relays. Québec 511 also disseminates information coming from the Ministère’s partners, such as Ville de Montréal, the Société des traversiers du Québec and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Who is responsible for communicating winter road conditions to be broadcast on the Québec 511 service?

Winter road conditions are broadcast by divided segments of the ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports road network. The Ministère has assigned one person for each segment. This person is required to check road conditions and report them using a ministerial mobile application, updating the Québec 511 service within about two minutes. The data is made available to the media, which relay the information.

Why are winter road conditions not broadcast on all roads?

For obvious material organization reasons, and in order to be able provide reliable, up-to-date information, the Ministère has decided to broadcast information on transit roads only, as the road conditions information service is used mainly by people travelling outside their region. Restricting the number of roads is necessary to meet our goal of providing accurate, quality information using the control processes in place. In the case of two parallel roads, only information on the most commonly used road is provided, as conditions are usually similar for both roads.

When are winter road conditions broadcast?

Winter road conditions are posted continuously from October 15 of each year to April 15 of the following year.

Is information on winter road conditions broadcast in the event of early or late snow?

Outside the winter period—i.e. from April 16 to October 14—only conditions on roads for which the pavement is partially or fully covered with snow or ice are broadcast.

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 inevitably once a day, between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., from October 15 to April 15 inclusivly, or whenever changes occur.

Information on roadwork is updated at each step and when the work is done.

Once the information is captured in the information processing systems, it is made available on Québec 511 within 3 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. If you use Québec 511 application for iOS or Android smart phones, you will receive notifications about the ongoing events on the Québec road network. You may customize the reception of such notifications at any time of the day with the regions and/or roads of your choice.

You can also subscribe to the RSS feeds at Québec 511 Website at www.quebec511.info. 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 plan to improve its Québec 511 service by using new technologies?

The Ministère 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 Ministère 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, Android, 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 Québec’s neighbour States and provinces. However, for the time being, this service is not available through the Québec 511 telephone line.

* Web syndication format based on XML language, allowing web page content to be indexed automatically and made available to Web users instantaneously.