Getting started

This document describes the specifications of the Open511 API, an open data standard for road event information. You can read more about the context of the API or jump directly to the technical stuff. If you are interested in contributing, you can start by joining the mailing list and consulting the “contribute” panel on the right.

We’ve provided some getting-started tips for data consumers and data providers.

How it works

  • The technical guidelines provide specifics about encoding, formats, architecture and content negotiation.

Main Resources:

  • Root (aka discovery): this resource is the single entry point for the entire framework. It provides links to all the other resources.
  • Jurisdictions: represent a specific government with some metadata (contact info, geographical coverage and other options).
  • Events: represent events (construction, accident, etc.) that are published by jurisdictions.

Support resources:

  • Area: Open511 contains the concept of area that can be attached to events. An area can be any location with a name: city, county, district, etc. It allows jurisdiction to provide additional location data without providing other geospatial data.
  • Jurisdiction geography: Contain the geographical boundaries of a jurisdiction.

Draft resources

Drafts are resources that have been proposed or requested by adopters and that are still under development.

  • Reports: The report is the crowdsourcing feature of Open511. A road user can submit a report to notify the jurisdiction that something is ongoing (e.g an accident). Other clients can also retrieve reports submitted to a jurisdiction.
  • Traffic Cameras: Provide information about the traffic cameras managed by a given jurisdiction.
  • Roads: List the road names under a given jurisdiction.
  • Traffic segments: Provide geospatial information about road segments as well as real-time information (speed) if available.
  • Traffic historical conditions: Sub-resource of the traffic segments that provide access to historical data of the speed if available.


The open511 specification has reached version 1.0. We believe the specification is ready to implement.

Several jurisdictions have either implemented or are in the process of implementing Open511 Events services. Two examples are the province of British Columbia and the city of Repentigny, Québec. Please get in touch with us if you’re considering implementing, or would just like more information on other existing and in-progress implementations. We also recommend joining the mailing list.

It may be helpful to browse the output of Open North’s in-progress implementation of this API.