Technology Helps Make Travel Easier

Computers, cell phones and satellites are changing the way we travel.

Advanced technology is making travel easier and helping reduce traffic congestion on busy highways. Technology is also directing a growing number of drivers from starting point, to destination.

"In nine tenths of a mile, keep left," says a robot like voice inside a Cadillac Escalade.

It isn't direction from some back seat driver, it's high tech help from the General Motors GPS-DVD onboard navigation system.

"You can actually watch yourself moving along the system. It is tracked by satellite. It is global positioning satellite and our system is DVD based navigation, so we have the latest technology," said Tamarah Hoffman, with the Turan-Foley car dealership in Gulfport.

Map software on DVD enables the driver to program a touch screen. You can program a trip, get instant help if you're lost and get specific directions to an unknown destination.

"Perhaps you were going on vacation and you wanted to find a certain restaurant or a certain tourist attraction. It would help you find that location," said Hoffman.

M-DOT is using modern technology to bring "real time" traffic conditions right to your computer screen. Several video cameras are mounted at some of the busiest intersections throughout Mississippi. You can check traffic conditions at your desk computer, before leaving the office and driving home.

Coming soon is a nationwide travel hotline. Several states are already up and running with the "511" system.

"You're stuck in traffic over on Highway 90. Or you're stuck in traffic on interstate ten. What's going on? How long am I going to be there? Well, you could dial "511" and information would be there for you," explained Southern District Transporation Commissioner, Wayne Brown.

It's information and technology to make traveling a little easier.

The proposed "511" travel hot line is up and running in several states. M-DOT is studying the program, but there are no immediate plans to start it.