The Texas Department of Transportation wants to hear from Texans. Literally. The Department just launched a new interactive voice response information line; the only problem is…the system doesn't quite understand Texan yet.
There are a lot of names that look like one thing. Yet, we say them completely different; Pecos or Pecas? On top of that, East Texans talk different than West Texans. That's why TxDot needs people to call in so this system learns how to speak Texan.
Before you hit the road, "I always tell people if you're going to drive 500 miles find out what the road conditions are and what the weather is going to be like at the end of the trip," says Glen Larum with TxDot.
But, as things stand now, the TxDot interactive voice response might not understand where you're trying drive to.
"Oh, you mean Marathon? If you’re from Marathen you've never heard of Marathon," jokes Larum.
Basically, this system needs to learn a new language that's very familiar to most native Texans.
"It will try to answer all the questions as far as it understands you, it will give you correct information," says Larum.
But, to spare any frustration, Larum suggests you give the information line a call for 2 reasons; pronunciation and for roads that have multiple names. For instance, some people call the same road 2 different names, like Business-20 is also Highway-80.
"Technology is just changing the way we operate all the time, who'd a thunk," says Larum.
So if you're a native Texan, Larum strongly suggests you call the information line. The system is testing the first 10,000 callers. That number is 1-800-452-9292.