Traffic.com, of Wayne, said today it has created a personalized traffic alert system for drivers that is fully supported by advertisers, rather than fees or transportation department contracts.

The 511 Traveler Information Service, which can provide drivers personalized information about their own routes by telephone or e-mail, is being rolled out in St. Louis in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation, the company said.

The company calls it the first traffic alert system fully supported by advertising, making it free to users. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the only 511 service currently collecting revenue from advertising or sponsorships is in Virginia, operated by the state.

"Where most cities with 511 systems rely on taxpayers to fund more than $1 million each year typically necessary to operate the system, the taxpayers for St. Louis and MoDOT are paying zero," said John Collins, the company's vice president ITS services.

Collins said the company "is committed to extending this savings to other cities."

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the majority of 511 traffic alert operations nationwide are run by state transportation departments themselves, under a fee-for-service contract, or some combination of both.

The federal agency has also said states should carefull monitor advertising content and format on 511 systems, "to ensure that the length of advertising messages does not overly inconvenience callers and that the content of these messages is consistent with the public service nature of 511 and agency image," the department says.

Traffic.com did not say what kind of advertising and formats it will carry on its system.

Contact staff writer Thomas Ginsberg at 215-854-4177 or tginsberg@phillynews.com.