Chapter 5. Service Patrol Telephone Survey Results
As part of the project to produce a Full-Function Service Patrol Handbook, a telephone survey was conducted to gather information from a variety of agencies around the United States that operate service patrols. As part of the survey, additional documentation on procedures was requested and supplied by many of the agencies who participated. Twenty-seven agencies were contacted and requested to participate in the telephone survey. Eighteen agencies completed surveys including the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that completed four separate surveys for each of its districts with service patrols in place, so there are 24 completed surveys.
| Program Name and Primary City
|| Organization Sponsor
| Cares Vans/Samaritan (Boston, Worcester, Springfield)
|| Massachusetts Highway Department
| Courtesy Patrol (Dallas)
|| Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
| CVS Samaritan Van Program (Boston)
|| Mass Highway/Samaritania, Inc.
| Emergency Traffic Patrol (Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC;
|| Office of CHART (Coordinated Highways Action Response
Team), Maryland Department of Transportation
| Freeway Incident Response Safety Team (FIRST) (Minneapolis
– St. Paul)
|| Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
| Freeway Service and Safety Patrol
|| Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT)
| Freeway Service Patrol
|| Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT)
| Freeway Service Patrol (Phoenix)
|| Maricopa Association of Governments, Arizona Department of
Transportation (ADOT), Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), FHWA
| HELP (Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis)
|| Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)
| HERO – Incident Response Units (Atlanta)
|| Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)
| Incident Response Units (Seattle, Tacoma)
|| Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)
| Minutemen (Emergency Traffic Patrol)
|| Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
| Motorist Assistance Patrol (Baton Rouge, New Orleans,
Shreveport, Lake Charles)
|| Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
| Motorist Assistance Program (Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita)
|| Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT)
| Motorist Assistance Program (Houston)
|| Houston Metro Police Department
| Region 1 Incident Response (formerly COMET- Corridor
|| Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)
| Road Ranger Service Patrol (all major urban areas)
|| Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
| San Diego Regional Freeway Service
|| California Highway Patrol
| State Farm Safety Patrol (PA Turnpike – 530 miles)
|| Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
The following pages present the survey questions and a high-level summary of the responses received. Note that all responses shown below are individual, but if the same response appeared more than once, the number of such responses is shown in parentheses after the response. Some similar responses have been grouped together.
5.2 Program Initiation and Funding
- How was the program initiated?
- Program initiated by:
- DOT headquarters and/or district incident management
- DOT construction project (2)
- DOT special event (Olympics)
- DOT coordinating with towing contractors and police
- DOT Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Plan
- Highway Patrol and DOT joint project
- Highway Patrol, DOT, transportation authority
- Local police department
- Metropolitan planning organization (MPO) (2)
- Pilot program expanded after an evaluation
- Private sector converted to public sector
- Private sector
- Sheriff and tollway authority joint venture
- Turnpike Commission
What institutional issues had to be addressed
prior to the program starting?
- Available permanent DOT positions (temporary positions
initially funded through federal construction funds)
- Definition of what good incident management looks like
- Hours of operation
- Legal limits of responding to incidents as a DOT
- Legislative approval for new positions for operators or
shifting them within the agency
- Quick clearance of incidents
- Number of miles covered
- Number of trucks needed
- Obtaining concurrence from DOT union representatives
- Overcoming traditional role of road-building agency to
- Political concerns
- Program administration
- Role of DOT in response to freeway incidents
- Size of the program
- State patrol opposition (2)
- Traffic Management Center (TMC) operators for dispatch
- Towing company opposition (3)
- Understanding various agency roles and responsibilities
- Working with other first responders.
- Who funds/sponsors the service patrol (public
agency, private agency, multiple agencies, etc.)?
- Sponsoring agency:
- DOT (12)
- Sheriff and tollway authority
- DOT and MPO
- Sheriff, Houston Automobile Dealers Association,
Houston Metro, TxDOT, Verizon Wireless
- Private sector – CVS Pharmacy
- Turnpike maintenance budget
- Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds (2)
- Department of Public Safety
- Federal highway funds (4)
- Federal surface transportation funds (STP)
- State legislative appropriations
- State operations and maintenance funds
- State traffic, safety and operations funds
- Turnpike funds
- Does the sponsoring agency operate the service
patrol or are the services contracted?
- Contracted out (7)
- Sponsoring agency (7)
- Some in-house, some contracted
- California DOT (Caltrans), California Highway Patrol
(CHP), San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)
- Contracted out with private companies and sheriff’s
- Department of Public Safety
- Highway patrol
- Sheriff’s office
- Sometimes contracted out as part of a construction
How was this decision made?
- Contracted because it was the only way to get the
program going at the time
- Cost to operate the service (i.e., who could do it less
- Could not add DOT staff
- In-house since had funding and positions
- In-house since private companies don’t have same
interest in getting roads opened after incidents as DOT does
- In-house trained maintenance technicians can do the job
- MPO decision
- Private, non-profit stopped operating service so DOT
contracted it out to a new operator
- Saw service patrol as an advertising mechanism for DOT
customer service so operate in-house
- Sponsoring agency had insufficient resources to operate
- Who is responsible for day-to-day oversight
of the patrols (comments noted as sub bullets below each category as needed)?
- DOT (7)
- DOT TMC Manager/Supervisor (3)
- 100 percent of our program is currently run with either
permanent or temporary NCDOT employees. We do not contract any of our programs,
but are investigating this practice along with public-private partnerships. NCDOT
is broken into 14 Divisions, of which 7 Divisions currently have service
patrols. The Division’s staff is directly responsible for day-to-day
- One person manages the program statewide, and each
region has a regional Incident Response (IR) supervisor.
- Each district has a program manager that supervises the
contract and works with the contractor and supervisory personnel are included
in the contract. FDOT management personnel are not.
- State operated – Person oversees state, each of
four cities has own coordinator.
- Contractor (2)
- Contractor supervisor
- Samaritania, Inc. has operations oversight but work
together with patrolling authority, DOT, or other transportation authority
- Public Safety Agency (5)
- CHP is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the
tow trucks. Each contracted tow company has a lead driver that is used as a go
between for the companies
- Department of Public Safety
- Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) is responsible for
day-to-day operations and the KHP provides supervisory personnel
- Metro Police Department
- Sheriff’s Office
- Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) Maintenance
Section Foreman supervises the service patrol personnel
If contracted, are supervisory personnel
accounted for in the contract?
- Consultants under contract dispatch/log contracted out
service patrol activities
- Contact DOT TMC operator to check in at start of
shift—paid for hours worked
- Contractors supervise; DOT spot checks
- Supervisory personnel are accounted for in the hourly
rate bid/contract for the service (2)
- Supervisory personnel are not specifically accounted
- Project engineers inspect the vehicles
- A: How is the program funded? What sources of funding are used (federal,
state, local, etc.)?
- Federal and State funds:
- 80 percent Federal, 20 percent State (6)
- 80 percent Federal Surface Transportation funds, 20
percent general State highway fund; CMAQ was 90 percent of start-up money
- Federal and State funds (2)
- Federal Funds (R-4049)
- CMAQ grants were used for the first 2 years. After the
2nd year, the State started paying for another 3 years. Funded 100 percent of
the cost, 2004—developed a regional transportation plan, included 20
years of funding, part of regional funding (mix of federal and state)
- Federal funds (CMAQ) have been used to expand the
program. Otherwise, it is mostly funded with state funds.
- National Highway System (NHS) funds
- State funds:
- 100 percent State funds (4)
- 100 percent State general revenue funds
- State operations budget
- The program is funded through State revenues out of the
DOT trust fund. These costs are shared primarily through the Traffic Operations
and Maintenance sections.
- Other funds:
- 80 percent Federal, 20 percent State, $500,000 from
private insurance company
- 80 percent Federal, 16 percent State, 4
percent North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA)
- All the sponsors including METRO police department
- Federal, State, and local MPO
- State and local 25 percent match
- PTC funded
B: What is the annual operating budget? How many vehicles and personnel
(service patrol operators and/or administrative support) does this budget
| Annual Budget
|| Number/Types of Vehicles
|| Number of Personnel
| $275,000, plus $85,000 for consultant dispatchers (one per
|| 2 vehicles and 1 spare vehicle
|| 2 drivers
|| Operates M-F, 6-9 am and 3-7 pm
|| 3 trucks for 7.5 hours per day
| Annual budgets are between $400,000 and $2 million (in
|| 6 vehicles
15 – 20 vehicles
| 8 – 12 operators
|| Hours are a big part of the cost. Can reduce costs by
having people work less days but longer days, a little overtime saves some
money, textbook is 6am – 6pm = 2 operators and 2 vehicles. People in the
private sector are much more dedicated to their job.
| $450,000 (budget for new trucks every 3 years @ $150,000)
| Annual operating budget varies depending on vehicle
replacement schedules has been approximately $1 million in recent years.
Budget for FY 2008 is $1.3 million due to vehicle replacement.
|| 18 vehicles
|| 18 SP operators on 3 area patrols and 2 Traffic System
Operators located at KC Scout TMC
| $1.2 million
| Approximately $1.2 million
|| Costs are rising because still building road miles, so
have to expand service
| $1.3 million
|| 13 trucks including 2 spares
|| 18 drivers, 2 supervisors, 1 manager
|| Fully staffed would be 20 drivers
| $1.61 million + $1.58 million for the TMOC
|| 11 trucks
|| 9 full time responders + 10 full time dispatchers for TMOC
| $1.7 million
|| 18 trucks
|| 18 deputies drive the trucks
| $1.89 million
|| 9 vehicles, 3 @ rate of $52 per hour and 6 @ rate of
$98.90 per hour
|| Contracts bid at different times, expect future bids to be
at higher rate
| $2.2 million
|| 22 routes with 26 vehicles
|| Van on call on each route + 4 extra
| About $3.06 million
|| 21 first responder vehicles
|| 85 employees
|| Operate 24/7
| $3.25 million
|| 19 trucks (F-350 trucks, utility trucks, equipped with
|| 45 personnel
| $3.5 million
|| 10 vehicles plus
| 10 operators plus
| Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport, and Lake Charles
| About $7 million
|| Approximately 50 vehicles
|| 72 drivers and 4 supervisors
|| 3 shifts
| About $7.5 million
|| Approximately 80 vehicles
|| Approximately 80 staff
| Just over $8 million
|| Including maintenance, ITS devices, vehicles, and salaries
| $8 million +/-
|| 6 supervisors trucks, and 6 other trucks (spares, sand
truck, traffic control vehicle)
|| 54 permanent drivers, 16 temporary drivers, 14
supervisors, 58 IMAP (Incident Management Assistance Patrols) trucks
|| Supervisory positions include 3 Incident Management
Fully staffed is 55
Close to 50 staff right now
Last year’s budget was approximately $19 million
Currently have 126 vehicles. This may change because a new
contractor is coming on board
We have 200 Road Rangers, 6 defined supervisors, and a
limited (undefined number of clerks/admin support staff) working under
several different contractors
In fiscal year 2006/07, the state allocated $25.5 million
to the 13 locally run FSP programs and $4.0 million to CHP for field
supervisors and training activities. Local transportation agency partners
that run each program are required to provide 25 percent matching funds.
In fiscal year 2006/07, the State’s 13 FSP programs
operated 149 beats with 351 trucks (during the pm peak period) over 1,650
centerline freeway miles.
CHP has 23 full-time dedicated officers assigned to the
FSP program and 6 part-time officers. Administrative staff support includes 2
sergeants, 15 public safety dispatchers, 2 associate governmental program
analysts, and 1 staff services manager.
C: Has a public private partnership (PPP) ever been pursued to fund, partially
fund, or sponsor the program? Why or why not? Are there restrictions within
your agency that preclude you from pursuing a private partnership? If you have
a PPP, what does the private sector provide and what recognition do they
receive (e.g., logo on vehicle, mention on Web site, etc.)?
- No (11):
- A public private partnership has not been pursued to my
- Don’t think so/don’t know. (2)
- No guidance from the State DOT on how to do that.
- Previous public private partnership failed, did
not want to do that again.
- Questions have come up recently. Main understanding is
that we cannot mix private dollars with national highway funds. So it’s never
been pursued. Now, it is kind of changing, and we may be looking at ways to do
PPP as far as advertising on trucks to help fund the 20 percent of 80/20 match.
But, this is in the early stages of discussion.
- Restrictions within agency. They are currently talking
to legislative party to do this, but nothing is in writing.
- Since legislation provided funded positions for
the operations of the program, external funding was not required.
- Wanted service to begin soon and did not want
lengthy negotiations and contract approval.
- Yes, at some point:
- AAA was a partner in the building (for the pilot
project); no involvement now.
- Renegotiations underway; had difficulty getting
funds funneled to them.
- We contracted with the tow industry before (towing
courtesy service patrols). We received federal funds to do this, but we don’t
have the funds now to continue. So, we’re not currently doing it. We’re
providing morning and afternoon patrols in Tacoma and Seattle, but federal
source has dried up. We put our logo on their vehicles, with signs on front
that said DOT service patrol, but only when working in service patrol capacity.
- We specialize in providing public sector sponsorship of
our programs (from a private provider).
- We have a public private partnership with SANDAG,
Caltrans, and CHP. The SANDAG logo is used on all of the trucks along with a
sign that says Freeway Service Patrol only during FSP service hours. Inside of
the FSP sign, the CHP, Caltrans, and SANDAG logos are used.
- We currently have entered into a P3 with State Farm
Insurance in which we received $1.4 million over a 3-year contract with a
renewal after that point. The 1st responder vehicles have been wrapped with the
State Farm and the PTC logos.
- WisDOT is currently considering pursuing a PPP. Funding
levels for the program have remained constant and a PPP provides one potential
avenue to expand the program. Thus far, WisDOT has not identified any
restrictions that will preclude us from pursuing a PPP. If WisDOT moves
forward, it has been determined that a RFP for sponsorship would have to be
issued to ensure fair opportunity.
- Considered it:
- Analyzed it and decided government employees had
more authority to do things.
- Analyzed it and decided State Patrol and other
responders were more effective.
- Considered allowing advertising on trucks but would
require state legislation to allow it.
- Currently, do not have PPP but are entertaining the
idea. We have nothing restricting this program currently.
- Received one proposal; however, consideration of the
proposal is currently on hold. Additionally, the FDOT Executive Board believed
that the amount offered was not in our best interest.
D: What is the contracted hourly rate for service?
| Hourly Rate
| Roughly $13 per hour
|| Pay will increase to $15 per hour in 2008
| Range is $20 to $27 per hour
|| Hourly rate depends on the level of each deputy
| Varies among the district from $35.00 per hour to $45.00
per hour for the service contracts
| Varies from $47.00 per hour to $80.00 per hour
| $ 50 per hour
|| Includes maintenance, operations, fuels, and supervisor
| $52 to $98.90 per hour
| $61.27 per hour
| $62 per hour
| $64.45 per hours
| $65 in Seattle, and $54.19 in Tacoma per hour in around
2002 or 2003
|| Done some recent things in conjunction with construction
projects. Last summer, we did a few short projects in Tacoma for $75 per hour
| $69 to $79 depending on area and vehicles
| $69.94 per vehicle
|| Consultant dispatcher is $13 to $14 per hour
|| In San Diego County, we use two tow companies and the
hourly rate is negotiated upon renewal of the contract
- A: What are the institutional relationships of the service patrols with
other responding partners?
Key to table: Strong relationship shown as full
dark circle; no relationship is an open circle; coordination relationship is
partially full circle; no comment made on survey is no circle.
|| Have State Police radios and dispatch (may switch to GPS)
|| DOT relieves some burden from state police
|| Know scene is controlled by others and offer assistance
|| Also towing companies. Normally provide traffic control
for the State Patrol and remain there until the incident clears or, for major
incidents, until Metro Maintenance arrives to take over traffic control. We
are working on “tow authority” legislation so we can call for tows on
|| Coordinate with DOT
|| Excellent, total partners; they see the value—right
equipment, traffic control, philosophy of quick clearance, on the scene
quickly, alternate routes, etc. Took a year to build that relationship
|| We have a strong relationship with the State Highway
Patrol. They assist in training our drivers and we coordinate with them and
other local law enforcement agencies with calls for disabled motorists,
traffic control, and incident clearance. We also work closely with other
agencies to assist in response, traffic control and incident clearance.
|| Our people are dispatched with the Washington State (WS)
Patrol, governed by our joint operations policy statement. The WS Patrol is
our primary partner, statewide. We work with fire and tolling and EMS, but
they’re local entities. But they’re no statewide agencies. We deal with them
the best we can. They have roughly 2,000 employees. There is no centralized
command and control for fire, so that’s the complication we deal with. We
have local teams to work on those local partnerships because we’re so dependent
|| Service patrols have good relationships with Highway
Patrol and other emergency responders. We are continuing to better
relationship between road rangers and highway patrol personnel. Road rangers
support highway patrol with traffic control. Road rangers are dispatched to
disabled vehicles in their service areas.
|| Each partner has a well-defined role in the program. The
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is responsible for the
administration of funding, statewide planning, and program coordination.
Caltrans is responsible for state allocation of invoicing and monitoring
freeways to ensure FSP resources are deployed in an efficient manner.
Caltrans is also responsible for conducting special studies in support of
local FSP programs. The California Highway Patrol is generally responsible
for individual tow operator training and supervision of the day-to-day FSP
field operations. In addition, the CHP is responsible for dispatching FSP tow
drivers. CHP Headquarters (Commercial Vehicle Section) has co-responsibility
for statewide planning and coordination. The local agencies are the regional
(multiple counties) or individual county transportation entities. They are
responsible for contracting with tow service providers and with other
consultants and contractors that may be necessary for the successful
implementation of the project. They are also responsible for generating local
matching funds, preparing annual program budgets, and coordinating service
expansions and changes with partner agencies.
|| Direct contact with our PTC TMC Operations center. Follow
the Unified Incident command protocol
|| Efforts are made to foster relationships between the
service patrols and other responding partners. In each FSP service area,
WisDOT facilitates regular stakeholder meetings with the FSP contractor and
local response partners. These meetings are used to discuss both issues
specific to the FSP and general traffic incident management issues. Many
areas have come to rely heavily on the FSP and frequently request their
|| Incident Response (IR) has been recognized by many of our
external partners as a first responder agency. Typically ODOT IR arrives before our service partners
allowing them to focus on their specific duties of their profession.
Service patrols provide traffic control and assist
incident command with clearing highway. Service patrol works within ICS
Good relationship; they would like to see 24/7 service
We have an open roads policy that we’re trying to get
signed by the governor now. We have a traffic incident management task force
that is made up of all different agencies across responding areas
An informal cooperative relationship
Work together on scene to resolve incidents
B: Are there any written plans, operational policies, and mutual-aid agreements
between responding partners? If so, can we obtain copies of the plans/policies?
- Yes (10)
- All ideas and documents can be found on timetaskforce.com.
- As requested by KHP officers.
- Contract documents define operational policies.
Accepted by responders without issues.
- FIRST has some policies and guidelines. There is a
document “Traffic Incident Management Recommended Operational Guidelines” dated
October 2004 that was developed with the MN Metro Fire Chiefs, the MN Towing
Association, the MN State Patrol, and MnDOT. We have no written agreements with
other partners—generally follow the incident command structure.
- Have a contract and standard operations procedures
(SOPs). No agreement between partners.
- Memorandum of understanding, interagency agreements, or
- Open Roads Policy/ Mitigated Spill Policy.
- Operational policies and joint operations policy
statement provided already.
- The CHP and Caltrans enter into interagency agreements,
which provide for the annual funding from Caltrans to CHP. An additional
provision of the interagency agreement is a Joint Operational Policy Statement,
which details the individual and joint responsibilities of Caltrans and the
- The operational policies of the Service Patrol Vehicles
(SPVs) are outlined on the contract documents. The SPVs have been accepted by
the responders without any issues.
- There is an agreement written up every 2 years;
however, could not provide a copy.
- We have a formal agreement with Greensboro PD to remove
abandoned/disabled vehicles. We are in the process of preparing an MOU with
State Highway Patrol to do this statewide. We also have Quick Clearance
legislation (GS 20-161) to clear roads without liability with DOT and LE concurrence.
- No (9)
- Pilot project was based on a contract between MAG and
DPS. Now, just a fiscal relationship. Did have an interagency review team; will
come back soon.
- Unknown/Not Applicable/No answer (3)
5.3 Functions and Field Operating Characteristics
- A: What functions are currently provided by the service patrol? Are the
operators able to provide first aid?
| Provide gas/fluids
| Change flat tires
| Provide first aid
|| Yes (11)
All operators are state-certified EMTs or Paramedics.
Basic first aid
Considering suspending this due to time it takes.
Medical first responders (delivered 9 babies) are trained
in hazmat. We are a traffic incident management operation. We’re DOT, we’re not
police, fire, or EMS, but we’ve had enough training that we know enough about
all. Usually, we are the first on scene, and we are trained to stabilize
situations until other responders arrive. Then we go do traffic control.
Provide minimal first aid assistance however it is
standard practice to allow emergency services personnel to treat all injured
Red Cross or approved equal course certification in first
response first aid and CPR.
Trained in first aid and CPR (not primary function).
| Patrol highway and service roads
| Service overheated vehicles
| Provide jump start/battery boost
| Move disabled/accident vehicles
| Arrange towing/tow
| Provide traffic control (including some CMS)
| Provide debris removal (small, non-hazardous)
| Provide disabled vehicle assistance
| Provide delay/traffic information
| Provide incident quick clearance/management
| Provide minor mechanical repairs
| Assist police
| Assist motorist (use of cell phone)
| Check abandoned vehicles
| Deploy gate arms on HOV and reversible roadway
| Provide traffic management and mitigation
| Communicate with TMCs & other agencies
| Assist in incidences where they transport motorist to the
airport in case they are late
| Provide medical, fire, animal incident response
| Warn motorists of hazards
B: Does the service patrol provide traffic control functions at highway incident
- Currently not – the ability to provide traffic
control functions is a requirement within the new contract (RFP is out) and the
vehicles are to be equipped with corresponding traffic control equipment.
- Yes (15)
- Yes, minimal. (2)
- Yes, as requested by KHP officers.
- Yes, each IR vehicle is equipped with automatic
vehicle location (AVL) that allows ODOT personnel to determine its proximity to
any current incident, a laptop computer, cellular and radio communication
capabilities, and on-board variable message signs.
- Yes, they do provide emergency traffic control, but
guideline is if incident is going to go beyond 60 minutes, then call out full
traffic control truck to set up full emergency incident response. Transition to
full Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) traffic control. This
improves safety and alerts motorists to incident ahead. Our maintenance is not
included in the IR budget. That program is huge, and we would not be where we
are without it. Try to back bill for the services.
- Yes, they do provide traffic control functions at
highway incident scenes in collaboration with other agencies. Their main
priority is to get traffic moving after a wreck.
- Yes, they provide traffic control using flares, cones,
and hand signals.
- If and when requested by patrolling authority or DOT.
C: Are there functions not currently being provided but under consideration
- No (13)
- Yes, expand hours of operation/service areas
- Add a midnight shift
- Expand length of rush hour service
- Expand service hours of some shifts
- Expanding coverage areas outside the Portland
Metropolitan area to include rural areas
- There’s expanded zones, more coverage, and expanded
hours that could be desired, but we are satisfied with the functions being
- Would like 24 hour service but money is a factor
- Would like to expand the area into neighboring
communities that are also high volume—wherever congestion is; can’t reach
because of funding limitations
- Yes, expand services offered
- Ability to tow disabled vehicles being considered but
requires legislative change (Towing Association likely to oppose)
- We are discussing carrying defibrillators (AEDs)
- Would like to add more tow trucks
- Yes, other
- Would like to have a more direct communications channel
between DPS service patrol and dispatch
- Yes, just to keep up with the current federal
standards. However, we’re probably the elite service patrol in the country
because we cover over 1,800 lane miles. We have three shifts around the clock,
24 hours, 7 days-a-week.
- What are the hours and days of the week of operation? Do these change for weekends,
holidays or planned special events? If so, how do they change?
General Hours and Days of Operation
|| Operating Hours
|| Extended on Call
|| Days per Week
|| # Agencies Responded
| 24 hours
|| 2 + FDOT operates 24/7 in large urban areas and FL
| 24 hours
|| May be on call
| Various shifts
|| 3:30 am to 9 pm
|| 10 am to 8 pm (Sat) and 9 am to 7 pm (Sun)
|| 5 am to 9 pm
|| Yes (24/7)
|| On call
|| 5 am to 10 pm (Mon & Fri); 5am to 8 pm (Tues –
|| 7 am – 11pm (Sat –Sun)
|| Varies by county segments (9) and 20 subsegments – primarily peak hours 6
am – 9 am & 2 pm – 6pm. One segment is 6 am – 6 pm.
|| Generally 10 am – pm(Sat – Sun)
| 8 – hour shifts
|| 5 am to 11 pm
|| 7 am to 11 pm
|| 5:30 am to 7 pm
|| 5:30 am to 7 pm (Seattle only)
| Work 2 shifts
|| 6 am to 2 pm and 2 to 10 pm
|| 6 am to 7 pm
|| 10 am to 6 pm (weekends)
|| 6 am to 9 pm
|| Weekends in Charlotte only and 24/7 on 20 miles of I-40
|| 6 am to 10 pm
|| 8 am to 8 pm (weekends)
| 10-hour shifts
|| 6 am to 12 am
|| 12 pm to 10 pm weekends)
| Daytime hours
|| 8 hours
|| 10 am to 7 pm (Sat) and 9 am to 7 pm (Sun)
| Daytime hours
|| 8 hours
|| 1 (3 service patrol vehicles)
|| 14 hours
|| 14 hours (weekends)
|| 16 hours
|| 1 ( service patrol vehicles)
| Rush hours
|| AM/PM rush hours
|| 2 (One is looking to expand hours 6am 10 am and 3 pm to 7
| Rush hours
|| 5:30 am to 9:30 am and 3 pm to 7 pm
| Rush hours
|| 6 am to 9 am and 3 pm to 6 pm
| Rush hours
|| 6:30 am to 9 am and 3 pm to 6 pm
|| On call
| Rush hours
|| 6 am to 9 am and 3 pm to 7 pm
| Rush hours
|| 6 am to 9 am and 2 pm to 6:30 pm
- Other Operating Hours Notes:
- 3 shifts: 5 am to 1:30 pm, off on Sat/Sun; 11 am to
7:30 pm, off on Tues/Wed (cover the weekend); 1 pm to 9 pm, off on Sat/Sun (1
- Hours and days of the week vary by district, highway
segment, and time of day (District 1: 5 am to 9 pm, Monday to Friday; 7 am to
11 pm, Saturday and Sunday. 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
District 2: 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Districts 3 through 7 and FL
Turnpike: 24 hours a day, 7 days-a-week, 365 days a year)
- On weekdays, there are three morning shifts: 3:30 am to
11:30 am, 4:30 am to 12:30 pm, and 5:30 am to 1:30 pm. There are two afternoon
shifts: one from 12:15 pm to 8:15 pm and another from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.
- The decision to only cover certain hours of the day is
a monetary one. We would like to have all 24 hours covered—perhaps by
having SPVs on standby for the night shift and extending the coverage hours of
the six SPVs to 16 hours a day.
- The Freeway Service Patrol operates during the morning
and evening commute hours, 5:30 am to 9:30 am and 3 pm to 7pm, 5 days a week,
52 weeks a year (excluding specified holidays). San Diego County FSP hours
coincide with the commute traffic times of San Diego County, and they operate
on all major freeways that have congestion only within San Diego County.
Holiday, Weekend, and Special Event Information
- Can change for holidays and special events
- Cover approximately 50 hours per year in RFP. If
additional hours are required, 24 hours notice must be given to the
- Extend hours for heavy holiday traffic (2)
- Holidays are modified depending on demand
- Holiday patrols may extend patrol hours from 7 pm until
- May have skeleton crew, and we have people on call
- Most holidays except Memorial (1), Independence Day (1),
Labor Day, Thanksgiving (4), Christmas (5), and New Year’s Day (3)
- Some/limited holiday coverage (2)
- The hours of operation are often expanded for holidays and
planned special events
- We schedule for holiday coverage
- As warranted
- Some weekend coverage in busy areas like Cape Cod
- Weekends on call unless working a special event
- We don’t normally have weekend coverage anywhere but in
Seattle (because of traffic conditions)
- Weekends 10 am to 6 pm
| Special events
- As warranted
- Extend hours events or incidents past normal shift hours
- Extended for weather events
- Hours change for special events as requested by KHP or
- May extend hours for weather events
- Modify coverage for major construction projects
- No special event coverage (2)
- Schedule for special events as needed
- Special events are on a pre-determined basis or as traffic
dictates in emergency situations
- Special event coverage on request on an overtime basis
- Special event support may extend patrol hours from 7 pm
- Specifics in proposed RFP for coverage for scheduled
sports events and community events. If additional hours are required, 24
hours notice must be given to the contractor.
- The only other time the schedules may change is during
inclement weather events where the Incident Responders revert to a 12 hour
schedule without a day off until the termination of the event. During this time the shifts are 3am
– 3pm – 3am.
- We schedule if there are major events such as weather,
football games, etc.
- 14 hours per day, 7 days-per-week. These change for
planned events (football games, etc.). Project Engineer can authorize
- What are the service areas? What criteria were used to
select the service area or beats? Were other government agencies or executives
consulted in choosing the service area?
- Service Areas:
- All major freeways in Harris County.
- All major freeways that have congestion only within San
- Baltimore metropolitan area, Washington metropolitan
area, and Frederick metropolitan area. During the summer months, we also serve
the Eastern shore routes of Maryland on weekends.
- Baton Rouge area, New Orleans area, Shreveport/Bossier
City Motorist, and Calcasieu Parish.
- Busy roads in the metro area, some routes in the mid
area, less in the west, expanding to cover most of busy corridors in the
states. Some revisions for next contract.
- Cover the entire freeway region in Maricopa County.
- Covers specific interstates and U.S. routes in 9
counties in Milwaukee region. Divided into 9 segments and 20 subsegments.
- Dallas County, parts of Denton and Collin
counties—mostly Dallas because Dallas County personnel, but state would
like to expand to other counties, which are in the process of doing. Trying to
get assistance from other sheriff department, highways and service
roads—major roads and some highways have service roads that we also cover.
Don’t cover local streets.
- Entire PTC system – 21 responders 24-7 covering
approximately 25 miles each.
- Interstate 78 and Route 22 in the Lehigh Valley.
- Link to web page. 80percent of coverage is on I-5 Puget
area; most coverage is in Seattle/Tacoma metropolitan areas.
- Major metropolitan areas.
- On part of I-95 and all of I-76 (three SPV), 16 hours a
day; the other six operate 8 hours a day.
- Our Incident Response Program covers 3 Districts
divided into 4 patrol regions. Freeways include Interstates 5, 84, 205, 405 and State routes 217, 26
- Service areas focus on high congestion corridors around
four major cities in Tennessee.
- Service areas vary by FDOT district, highway segment,
and time of day.
- District 1: Interstate 75 – Collier,
Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee Counties; Interstate 275 – From the
I-75 Interchange (exit 228) over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to the North Rest
Area; Interstate 4 – Polk County;
- District 2: Interstate 10 – From SR 200
(US 301) to San Marco Blvd.; Interstate 295 – From Old St. Augustine Road
north to Pulaski Road; Interstate 95 – From San Marco Road north to Pecan
Park Road and from Old St. Augustine Road north to College Street. J. Turner
Boulevard (SR 202) from I-95 east to SR A-1-A;
- District 3: I-10 from mile marker 195 – 203
(Construction area) Tallahassee; I-10/Escambia Bay Bridge – I-10, from
Exit 13 (SR 291 to Davis Hwy) to Exit 22 (SR 281 to Avalon Blvd); 1 truck (24
hours per day) and a second truck for 14 hours per day (6:00 am to 8:00 pm);
I-10/I-110 – I-10 (Exit 11to Exit 13) and I-110 (Exit 3 to Exit 6);
1 truck working 6:00 am to 8:00 pm (Monday to Friday), 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (Saturday),
and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Sunday);
- District 4: Broward County – Interstate
95 from Ives Dairy Road to Palmetto Park Road; Interstate 75 – From Miami
Gardens Drive north to Sunrise Boulevard (SR 838); Interstate 595 – From
Eller Drive to Alligator Alley Toll Plaza; Palm Beach County – Interstate
95 from Hillsboro Road (SR 810) north to County Road 708 in Martin County;
- District 5: Interstate 4 – From County
Rd. 532 (Polk/Osceola County Line) to I-95 (Volusia County);
- District 6: Interstate 75 – From SR 826
north to the Miami-Dade/Broward County Line; Interstate 95 – From US 1
north to the Miami-Dade/Broward County Line; Interstate 195 – From I-95
east to Alton Rd; Interstate 395/MacArthur Causeway – From I-95 east to
Alton Road; State Road 826 – From US 1 north to the Golden Glades
Interchange; State Road 5/ US 1 – From SW 112 Street north to I-95; MDX:
State Road 112 – From LeJeune Road east to I-95; State Road 836 –
From Florida’s Turnpike east to I-95; State Road 874 – From Florida’s
Turnpike north to SR 826; State Road 878 – From SR 874 east to US 1;
State Road 924 – From SR 826 east to NW 27 Avenue;
- District 7: Interstate 4 – From I-275
(MP# 0) in Hillsborough County, east to milepost 25 (County Line Road) at the
Polk County Line; Interstate 75 – Hillsborough County, from the Leroy
Selmon Expressway north to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard Selmon Expressway (full
length); Interstate 275 – From the rest area north of the Sunshine Skyway
Bridge (milepost 12.1) in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, north to milepost 61
(I-75/I-275 apex) in Hillsborough County; Leroy Selmon Crosstown
Expressway – Full length/14.2 miles; FL Turnpike: All of Florida’s
Turnpike (including the Homestead Extension) from Mile Post 0 to Mile Post 309
and the entire Sawgrass Expressway.
- The PennDOT personnel patrol the Parkway North (Ft.
Duquesne Bridge to Camp Horne on I-279). The contracted service personnel
patrol the Parkway East (I-376), Parkway West (Pittsburgh International Airport
to Fort Pitt Tunnels on I-279), and I-79 from Exit 55 (Bridgeville) to Exit 73
- The service areas are the freeways within the 8-county
metropolitan area (Minneapolis).
- Varies by state of operation. Service areas selected
primarily based on patrolling authority recommendations.
- We currently cover 500 of our 1,100 miles of interstate
system. The areas are Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Winston Salem, Charlotte,
Asheville, and I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge. The areas were based on urban
congestion demands, but we now look at other things, such as 1500
vehicles/hour/lane as a warrant.
- We patrol seven major expressways around the
metropolitan Chicago area. Also expanded into Indiana recently as well
(southeast), a 2-mile stretch. May average 70 assists in Indiana jurisdiction.
- We use (3) patrol zones to cover 45 miles of interstate
around the capital beltway.
- Within the metro Atlanta area.
- Criteria used to select areas:
- Areas were selected based on volumes of traffic and
number of incidents, and experience knowing the area. Mainly, the whole metro
area needs to be covered due to sheer volume of traffic. As we expand operations,
we know which areas are worse than others, just by experience and data, and
- Because the program was developed 20 years ago, they
are not familiar with criteria, etc.
- Coverage area was based on the Tri-County area around
the beltway and its major feeders.
- Criteria used to select the routes included mileage,
congestion, and number of incidents.
- Higher volume interstates received the first vehicles
and the service is expanding to the expressways as the interstate coverage
becomes more complete. The higher volume roadways receive the highest priority.
- Limitations on coverage area were based on the
boundaries of the Portland Metropolitan Area.
- Traffic volumes, crash history, and incidents covered
by the FSP such as disabled vehicles and roadway debris.
- We worked with the patrol and local jurisdictions. They
are based on calls for service and data (traffic volume and calls for service).
- When service areas are selected both AADT and crash
rates are considered.
- Other agencies consulted in service area definition:
- Yes, all of them
- Atlanta Regional Commission, the Governor, and GA
Regional Transportation Authority were consulted. They had information that we
- DOT and other transportation authorities provide input
(from a private provider).
- Initially input from other agencies was considered,
however once funding was found determination on the corridors managed by ODOT
were determined by the agency.
- Regional response stakeholders are also consulted when
service areas are selected.
- State patrol was involved in choosing the service area.
- There is an Incident Management Task Force group
representing many agencies that had an influence in deciding the coverage area.
- We worked with the patrol and local jurisdictions.
Sometimes, it’s political with local politicians. Also, we have a small program
in Spokane and Vancouver, and seasonal truck at Steven’s Pass on Highway 2, and
full-time truck that operates year round. We had requests to have incident
response, but don’t have funding. Always ask for more when we go through
- I do not believe that other agencies were consulted in
choosing the service areas.
- A: What type of vehicle does the service use? Were there specific reasons
for picking this vehicle over others? Could you provide a copy of the vehicle
| Vehicle Type
|| Comments/Reasons for Choosing This Vehicle Type(s)
| Mixed Fleet
|| We run four types. Light-duty tow trucks, custom response
vehicles (modified box truck), pick-up trucks, and vans. Supervisors use the
|| The light-duty trucks have ability to pick up, push, and
drag large vehicles and debris. Custom response vehicles carry equipment,
tanks, lighting, cones, and equipment needed for incidents. Vans (which we
started with) can hold more equipment and people.
| Mixed Fleet
|| Four ramp tow trucks (areas without a break-down lane, and
critical choke points). Rest of fleet is vans.
|| Vans – easier for storage of equipment (especially
in bad weather). Vans are less expensive and easier to get operators. Not
convinced sponsors like the room for ads on a van.
| Mixed Fleet
|| We use from one-ton pick-ups to light, medium, and heavy
trucks. We use a combination. Lightest are one-ton. Heavies have capability
to pump diesel, carry 100 gallon tanks. With price of gas trying to maintain
a few heavies. Six tow trucks in Seattle area strategically assigned to
floating bridges. Our IR trucks are identified as authorized IR vehicles so
we have lights, sirens, etc.
|| Price of fuel has caused us to expand use of lighter
vehicles. We can respond to minor stuff, which saves troopers from
having to respond.
| Mixed Fleet
|| The FSP program uses flat bed tow trucks and wheel lift
tow trucks. The new addition to our fleet is regular extended cab pickup
|| Regular extended cab pickup trucks to assist the tow
trucks with extra passengers and to assist with service calls when a tow
truck is busy on another call or is not required.
| Mixed Fleet
|| The current vehicles in operation are 1-ton tow trucks.
The recent purchase of three new vehicles for operation will include 2 tow
trucks and 1 one-ton crew cab truck equipped with push bumper.
|| The reason for using a crew cab instead of a tow truck is
that most of the vehicles are pushed from the roadway. There are only a few
times a year vehicles need to be towed from the roadway.
| Mixed Fleet
|| Typically, three-quarter-ton truck, but some districts use
wrecker type medium-duty trucks.
|| Cost, functionality, and durability are primary
considerations for the vehicles chosen.
| Tow Trucks
|| A 16,500 GVW wrecker is used.
|| Needed a tow vehicle to get disabled vehicles off the
highway and transported to a safe drop-off area.
| Tow Trucks
|| The service patrol vehicle that we use is a 16,500 GVWR
class Expressway tow truck equipped with a 3-foot high by 6-foot wide arrow
panel with a raise and lower mechanism.
| Tow trucks
|| Tow trucks are utilized to allow for clearing incidents.
| Wreckers/Flat beds
|| Per the proposed RFP for contracted service: The primary
service vehicles shall consist of a car carrier with a minimum gross vehicle
weight rating of 14,500 pounds, dual wheel chassis, and four (4) ton recovery
equipment rating. The backup
vehicle may be another car carrier with the same specifications as described
above or a tow truck/wrecker with a minimum gross vehicle weight rating of
10,000 pounds. The model year of
each FSP vehicle is 2005 or newer. Both types of vehicles are able to safely and legally transport three
people, including the driver and two passengers, in the cab.
|| Support quick clearance and facilitate vehicle removal.
|| F-350 trucks
|| Low bid
|| We currently have ¾ ton Fords and Chevys with
extended cabs. We also have three V-10s (Fords). All are outfitted with CMS,
an arrow stick, rotating beacons, and blue strobes.
|| Have moved to large trucks that have more equipment.
|| Started with minivans (phased out). Trucks are more
|| F-350s with emergency unit, F-250 open bed pick up –
cones, jacks, fuel – for better movement. Durangos – for
supervisors. All are 4wd.
|| Fords are the most functional – saw from other
agencies and was impressed with them.
|| Ford F450, Dualies, 4-wheel drives have big box containers
on back, and look like an ambulance. 2 wheels on each side of the rear axle.
|| F450 was more of a contract deal. We had a low-bid
situation; Ford came in with low bid. Body was developed/designed for
protection of equipment and visibility.
|| We use a medium-duty chassis with a tow-recovery boom.
|| It’s a good size vehicle to relocate cars and tow cars.
|| Three-quarter-ton vehicle is currently being used but
would like to switch to a 2-ton truck.
|| Chevy pickup trucks. Full size. 1500 model.
|| Originally started with Astro vans but that didn’t work
well. Deputy actually got injured so they changed this around. They carry a
lot of chemicals and equipment in the car that wasn’t good with the Astro.
Fumes from carrying all these chemicals and equipment are much safer with the
|| 1st responder vehicles (F-150 4 door crew cab)
|| Pickup truck (4-door crew cab allowing transport of 4
|| Standard vehicle is a Ford 1 ton heavy duty. Currently we have three 2004’s, one
2005, two 2006’s, and four brand new 2008 1 ton Super Heavy Duty’s.
|| Torque, work load potential along with industrial strength
led to the purchases.
|| Ford, E-350 diesel vans
|| Most efficient in resolving incidents.
B: What type of equipment is carried on-board the
vehicle? Check all that apply.
Traffic Control Equipment
| Yes (20)
First Aid Kit
Message Board Mounted On Vehicle
| Yes (19)
- Arrow boards, vehicle message boards for text messages.
VMS cost more, so have combination of both
- Vehicle mounted VMS with 99 preprogrammed messages
- Spare gas only on tow trucks, no diesel unless requested
- CB radios (4)
- Cell phone (9)
- County city radios (1)
- Nextel (8)
- Onboard computer tapped into responder network (2)
- Police radio (7)
- Scanner (5)
- State highway/turnpike radio (13)
- Two-way radio (2)
- Broom/ Whisk broom (3)
- Hydraulic jack (4)
- Pry bars
- Wrenches (3)
- Amber and red warning lights meeting the requirements of
Wisconsin statute 347.26(6) (b).
- Antifreeze (2)
- Arrow board on vehicle (2)
- Bags of salt and sand
- Battery buster box
- Booster/jumper cables (3)
- Chains (2)
- Child safety seat in case a child needs to be
transported in the service patrol vehicle
- Diesel recovery system
- Direct oil attack pack to absorb spills/ Oil dry (2)
- Duct tape
- Emergency phone numbers
- Extensive automotive, medical, fire, HazMat, and animal
control equipment and supplies
- Fire extinguisher (2)
- Fuel transfer kits to pump diesel from leaky tanks
- Hand cleaner
- Hazardous material guide book
- Highway maps
- Local phone book
- Minor spill containment supplies (3)
- Oil (2)
- Paper towels
- Pen and paper
- Power outlets, front and rear mounted, with outlets
compatible to 12-volt booster cables with a minimum length of 15 feet.
- Power steering fluid
- Public address system with an external speaker
- Pump to off load diesel/fuel out of a subtank (can of
load about 100 gallons)
- Rear work lights
- Spotlight capable of directing a beam centered in any
direction of a 360-degree horizontal arc around the truck
- Traffic control equipment
- Trailer hitch (2)
- Water for cooling system (3)
- Wheel lift
- White and amber emergency lights
- Winch cables
- What are the personnel
qualifications/training requirements for service patrol operators? Do you have
position descriptions or a current training syllabus you could share?
All carried out by DPS are civilian employees of DPS.
Backgrounds checks similar to officers; DPS has a training program.
All FSP Drivers/Operators are required to have a valid
Wisconsin driver’s license and other appropriate licensing for operating the
FSP vehicle. All operators are 18
years of age or older. Prior to
the contract start date, the Contractor must submit a list of all potential FSP
Drivers/Operators to the Contract Administrator. Contractor must certify that
all Drivers/Operators have a good (clean) driving record and have no felony convictions. The Contractor will perform background
checks and obtain the driver’s permission to submit background results to the
Contract Administrator. All FSP Drivers/Operators are approved at the sole
discretion of the Contract Administrator prior to performing any services for
the FSP Contract. Within sixty (60) calendar days from the date of contract
award, all FSP Drivers/Operators, shall complete level one of the National
Driver Certification Program at the Contractor’s expense. This training includes education on
customer service, roadside service safety, attitude, appearance, incident
management, vehicles, and equipment. Each FSP driver must be certified within one year of employment in the
following: National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
Automotive Technician, National Emergency Vehicle Operators Course, Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) HAZMAT First Responder Program, CPR and
Basic First Aid Certification.
Check oil, radiator overheating, change a tire, lift at
least 50 lbs. Don’t need a CDL; provide training for them—have on-the-job
training where they are matched with a training coordinator, also have
formalized training with formvalized training for 3 days, an incident management
course, have to do ride alongs with experienced operators.
Do training and ride-alongs; 50 hours of training
required in new contract. They receive training in CPR first aid, methods of
operation, portable highway operation, hazmat response, customer service,
traffic control, work zone safety. All drivers come from our maintenance
facilities, and we train them to our specifications.
For qualifications, we look for someone who can work
independently, prefer some type of emergency background to work in stressful
conditions. They have to be 18 with high school education or GED. For training
system, 300 hours of in-class training and 200 hours of ride time for training
are required. Training stuff can be found at ftp://ftp.dot.state.ga.us user name “hero”, password “hero$”—to download our training specs, SOPs.
FSP operators are State Certified EMTs or Paramedics,
National Certified Automotive Technicians., State Certified Fire Fighter Level
I or equivalent, National Certified Animal Control Officers.
Full-time employees of TDOT. Training program includes
first aid and emergency medical care, hazardous materials, traffic control,
radio communications, highway incident management, diversity, extinguishing vehicle
fires, using emergency equipment. See operations guide.
Maintenance Utility Worker – job description
Minimum Qualifications for the positions are: Two years
of public contact experience, which included gathering, relaying and providing
information to others; and evaluating activities or incidents and determining
an appropriate course of action. One year of this experience must have included
roadway/highway, bridge, sign or drawbridge maintenance operations or Public
Safety work such as police, fire, emergency medical, incident responder, hazmat
responder or towing.
Motorist Assistant Technician (MAT) –
$12.66/hour. Duties: Assist motorists with vehicle and travel problems by
fixing tires; providing basic temporary mechanical assistance; providing
directions; providing gasoline; providing water/antifreeze; calling for wrecker
service; etc. Knowledge of mechanical structure of vehicles; area and services
available; repair procedures; and Highway Patrol policies and procedures.
Assist motorist at traffic crashes by calling for law enforcement officers;
service vehicles or emergency vehicles by providing emergency first aid/CPR to
victims. This is done through knowledge of first aid and CPR; when to move or
not move crash victims; safety procedures; and priorities at a crash scene.
Observe suspected criminal activity or hazardous drivers reporting incidents
and remaining at a safe distance until law enforcement officers arrive.
Knowledge of Highway Patrol policies and procedures; criminal activity; and
ability to properly describe and locate vehicles geographically. Minimum
Requirements: High school diploma or GED equivalent and a valid driver’s
license. Training program for MAT is in the process of being reviewed and
Must have a valid driver’s license, be at least 18
years of age, no moving violations in past 6 months, have a high school
diploma, no DWI arrests, must be familiar with the use of the radio and the “10
code language” and pass a criminal background check (more details in
attachment). Must have Red Cross or approved equal course certification in
first aid and CPR.
Not currently. We are in the process of standardizing
our training. It varies in each area covered.
Wreckmaster certified or equivalent, clean driver’s
record, background check, class C driver’s license.
SPV operators shall have a basic knowledge in the tasks
of tow truck operations to provide safe and proper service and must be capable
of demonstrating their operational abilities prior to beginning their first day
of work. They are required to have a current PA class C driver license and pass
a course detailing the Expressway Service Patrol program, minor vehicle repair,
costumer service, and roadside safety. The training material include work zone
traffic control, tow truck operators manual, proper tow truck maintenance, all
towing safety procedures, driver vehicle daily inspection report be in truck
with driver, tow truck preventive maintenance procedures, proper tow truck and
equipment pre-operation inspection procedures, lubrication procedures, control/gauges,
proper start up, use of transmission, backing procedures, over the road
techniques, proper shot down, air tank drain, proper setting of brakes,
cleaning of equipment, post inspection of tow truck and equipment, proper
connection of towed vehicles, equipment being towed, securing towed vehicle,
emergency warning lights, towing of vehicle, parking of towed vehicle, securing
towed vehicle, American Red Cross first aid (or equivalent), knowledge of the
geographic area to be covered.
The operators attend an initial 16-hour training course
put on by the California Highway Patrol. Every 3 months, they have to attend
refresher training put on by the California Highway Patrol to remain certified
in the FSP program.
The operator qualifications require a safe driving
record and they must be 18 years of age. They are also required to attend a
Wreckmaster or similar hands-on training at the expense of the contractor.
The service patrol operators must be a minimum of 18
years old, have PA Class C driver’s license and a safe driving record, be
sufficiently experienced in tow truck operations, and have Wreckmaster or
similar training, American Red Cross First Aid or CPR and attend the
contractor’s Freeway Service Patrol training program. We utilize the
Department’s Traffic Control Technician 2 (TCT 2) and Traffic Control
Technician 1 (TCT 1) positions for the TMC dispatchers.
Their training comes when they trained as deputies and
were on patrol. Not specialized in patrol service.
They receive training in CPR, first aid, methods of
operation, portable highway operation, hazmat response, customer services,
traffic control, and work zone safety. All drivers come from our maintenance
facilities, and we train them to our specifications.
Training requirements vary slightly by district with
Road Rangers receiving 72 to 80 hours of initial training with 32 to 40 hours
of the initial training taking place in the field.
We hire highway maintainers, and train them in
Emergency Traffic Patrol in house. We keep staff updated with all training and
have refresher courses that we give to current employees as well. We have
guidelines that we follow (federal and state), and we have classroom and
on-the-job training for 12 weeks before they go out on their own.
- We hire them as maintenance technicians. Normally, we
like them to have highway maintenance experience, and then they are eligible to
get in response program. A few we hire directly into Incident Response.
- Are the service patrols/operators dedicated
solely to the program?
- Contractors have at least 2 spare operators.
- During peak hours, we have additional vehicles we bring
out from the maintenance shop. Staff are on an overtime basis to increase our
size during peak hours.
- Yes, but the PennDOT personnel also work in the tunnels
performing various duties.
- Yes, it is a specialized position. Some drivers also
plow snow (overtime).
- 10 on staff [8 on road], it is their only function.
- Yes, dedicated solely to program. (6)
- Yes. We have seasonal patrol on Highway 2. Would be a
part of another maintenance crew, but from November 1 through April 15 (on
Stevens Pass), they are dedicated solely. But other times available for call
If not, what other duties are they expected to
- Being that services are contracted, it is not expected
that operators be solely dedicated to the program, except during the hours of
- Janitorial functions
- Other things – dispatch trucks out there, program
manager, supervisor, and 3 shift leaders, also have a maintenance technician
- The operators are allowed to work for their companies
as tow operators during non FSP hours if the company decides as long as they do
not go over their required federally mandated driving hours in a day.
- A: What type of communications capabilities with transportation agencies,
specifically Traffic Management Centers, and/or other responders, does the
service patrol have?
|CCTV – ITS cameras
|Cell phone (some GPS/AVL equipped)
|Media-Affiliate 2-way radio
|Onboard wireless laptop
|Police dispatch radios
|State highway/turnpike radios (most 800 MHz)
|VHF highband radios
- Other comments regarding communications:
- Cell phones and 800 MHz Radio. Use a stop time and
service time to locate vehicle and dispatch to closest located vehicle.
- Co-housed with TMCs – constant 2-way radio
communication, cameras and traffic surveillance in Nashville, Knoxville, and
Chattanooga TMC is closely monitoring them and their action via GPS, etc
- Communicate directly via CapWIN system (onboard
wireless laptop), state highway radios. We communicate with TMCs and other
agencies in the field.
- County and city radios in the trucks. Talk to
Transstar. TxDOT picks that stuff up.
- Drivers use radio procedures such as 10-8 (in service)
at the beginning of the shift and 10-10 (off duty) at the end of the operation.
Drivers need to advise the COMM Center whenever their status changes and should
monitor their CHP frequencies. Drivers also use text messaging features of the
mobile data terminal (MDT) such as the on-board computer.
- Initially, when we launched in 2000, we envisioned that
this would be an integral part of ITS system. Wanted to alert TMC about
traffic, etc. via DOT radios – didn’t happen. Instead use DPS radios to
talk with TMC.
- Use a Nextel phone to communicate with dispatch. Trying
to get for all the trucks (have some) – radio system to communicate with
sheriff and police.
- Service patrols use different systems. Some use 800 MHz
state law enforcement radio systems (SLERS) telephones, others are getting
radios that communicate with DOT maintenance offices and maintenance yards, and
all have cell phones.
- We have our own Main channel between the FIRST units
and dispatch; FIRST units monitor the State Patrol Main channel and Maintenance
Main channel; FIRST units and beat troopers can communicate via talkgroups on
the 800 MHz radio. We also have Nextel cell phones with AVL and are soon going
to be having shared CAD/AVL in laptop computers in all the trucks so FIRST will
be able to communicate directly with SP via text messaging with regard to
location, incident status, etc. The biggest advantage we have is that all dispatchers
(FIRST, MnDOT Maintenance, and State Patrol) are all housed in the same room in
the RTMC, and we all have the capability to look at the same camera monitors
and hear each other over the radio.
- 800 MHz radios that communicate directly with our TMC,
cell phones, and state patrol radio communications. We are dispatched by the
state patrol, so we can talk to troopers directly.
B: Does the service patrol provide the TMC with traffic updates?
- Yes (12)
- All the time. They let the dispatcher know.
- Communications – Verbal 2-way, also have police
- If they respond to an accident or come across an
unusual occurrence like an object blocking the traffic lanes they shall report
it to dispatch. If they encounter heavy traffic and it is just congestion, no
need to tell dispatch.
- Incident Responders relay information from the specific
corridors they are patrolling when encountering any incidents impacting the
- Some info provided to 511 operator. Some info provided,
not too much. No cameras in vans.
- They provide updates on their location, incident
status, etc. Traffic is continuously updated through an extensive network of
detection on the freeway system.
- Yes, as requested.
- Yes – dispatch, TMC in same building as dispatch.
Motorists and patrols can call in and then info is given to the media and info
posted on Internet.
- Yes, they relay everything from center to the field and
- Yes, the patrol operators are in constant
communications with the TMC and the local State Police Barracks to ensure
everyone is up to speed on any situation.
- No (2)* [* One has added it as a requirement in their
new RFP for contract services]
C: What notification procedures and dispatch procedures are used?
- Cell phones and 800 MHz radio.
- Dispatch radio room in Schaumburg, IL, dispatches us to
- If we know that there is a disabled vehicle, we
dispatch. There is a number, but we don’t respond to calls all day.
- Just a drive by.
- No, can only call dispatch and can be patched through.
Dispatch center number is public. Emergency response number on the back of
every driver’s license. 70 percent of incidents we just drive up on it and 30
percent of people get in touch with us. Can give out the cell phone number of
- Notification comes from the TMC or State Police
directly. The TMC has provided the State Police with an 800MHz radio as well
that can communicate directly to the service patrol vehicles. The service
patrol numbers are located on the side of the vehicle along with a PennDOT
symbol and “Freeway Patrol.”
- Notification/dispatch procedures may be either an
Incident Responder who comes across an incident (be it debris, stalls, or
accidents) and relays that information back to the TMOC or the TMOC being
called by a civilian or a police agency, who will then dispatch an Incident
Responder to confirm the incident with eyes on scene.
- Number for general public to call.
- Our people are dispatched by Washington State Patrol.
So our people respond like their troopers do.
- Our TMC is a 911 dispatch center and a traffic
management center with State Police presence. All information on the system and
off the system is reported to the operations center.
- Road Rangers are dispatched by the Traffic Management
Centers, the contractor, or via self dispatch when they observe a motorist in
distress or when they observe an incident such as debris on the highway or an
accident that has just occurred.
- Sign in and sign off. They use unique numbers to locate
staff. They use push cards, tear out numbers and *67.
- SP Dispatched by TMC, PA State Police, and self.
- SPVs will communicate and take orders and directions
from the Department. At the beginning of each service, or upon finding any
disabled vehicle, the SPV operator will notify the TMC of location model,
color, and plate number of disabled vehicle. At the end of each service call,
the SPV operator will notify the TMC and will fill out an incident information
form and submit these to the Department on a weekly basis. If a repair will
take more than 10 minutes to complete, the vehicle is relocated to a safe location
off the interstate and the motorist is provided with a cell phone to use in
order to obtain further help.
- The FSP is a roving service and this is how they locate
the majority of the stops they make. At this time local law enforcement
partners also have the ability to dispatch the FSP when needed.
- The service patrol calls in to the TMC dispatcher at
beginning and ending of shift. For each motorist assisted, the FSP contacts the
TMC dispatcher upon arrival, during the service and at the end of the service
to log times, location of service, vehicle information, and services provided.
The TMC phone number is available to the public.
- We have a large paging system for a multitude of state
and federal agencies. State police are required to call and notify us of
anything they know. We also monitor on our own using scanners.
- We have a navigator system, called call takers. We find
out about accidents by driving up on it or being notified by the TMC. The TMC
houses our dispatch operation. Call takers manage 511 system and take calls
(from 911, the public, police, etc.).
- We typically receive calls for assistance from law
enforcement. The number for our program is not advertised. Dispatch is either
directly with law enforcement, through the TMC, or they self dispatch when
incidents are discovered along their routes.
- 2-way radio, Nextel Direct Connect, cell phone dispatch
to support roving service patrol service.
- 10-10, 10-8, 10-7, etc.
Is the service patrol number available/advertised
to the general public for roadside assistance?
- Advertised as calling *FHP for roadside assistance.
- Motorist may call *99 for roadway assistance.
- Number for general public to call operated by local law
enforcement and can call *THP and *847.
- To advertise to the public, they use key chains,
pencils, go to the auto shows and go to booths to advertise programs. Sheriff
just did a commercial for their anniversary as a public announcement.
- 511 is the service patrol number.
- No, not directly. But, the public can dial #77 for
state police or 911 to get through to the local dispatch center.
- No patrol number is available/advertised to the general
- No release of Incident Response numbers occurs to the
general public, these identification numbers are used solely in house for
- No, service patrol number direct communication by the
public is not available.
- No, the number is not published.
- Public can’t call, can only call 911. No one knows the
- Public is directed to call 911 for roadside assistance
and then the state patrol can dispatch our folks.
- The service patrol number is not advertised to the
general public, we advise the general public to call 911.
- There is no one dedicated service patrol phone number
and therefore nothing is available/advertised to the general public.
- There is no present advertising of the service.
- We do not provide motorists with a number to call for
- Describe any other support elements to the
service patrol program, such as:
- Vehicle maintenance:
- Done by our Maintenance Department
- Done within DOT by our office of equipment management.
We handle the normal routine. We have the ability to use our state/fuel express
cards to get oil changes. Basic maintenance is done through our Office of
- Handled by DPS
- Incident Responders work hand in hand with maintenance
crews to mitigate an accident or provide traffic control. Typically IR is the first on scene and
establish temporary traffic control until maintenance shows up. Once maintenance crews arrive they take
over long term traffic control and the Responders are released to resume patrols
of his corridor.
- Sheriff’s department handles maintenance and the
facilities—they own trucks and operate
- Provided by our Equipment Unit
- TDOT maintenance centers, on same campus, dedicated
mechanic or 2
- Used by Harris County. Take care of all the maintenance
- We maintain our own vehicles
- Contractor responsible:
- All of the tow trucks are taken care of by the
- By contractor.
- Contractor provided.
- Contract out vehicle maintenance or use state highway
facilities for vehicle maintenance. Our maintenance vehicles may be
overburdened so we go outside for quicker service to ensure vehicles are on the
- Drivers are contracted, so most of the elements are the
responsibility of the contractor.
- FSP vehicle maintenance is the responsibility of the
- It is part of the contract for the contractor to
- The contractor is responsible for the vehicle
maintenance during non-patrol hours.
- Combination services:
- In-house and outside vendors to repair our vehicles.
Three mechanics on one shift working together. Major repairs go to outside
- Varies by contract and city. Guys are responsible for
maintaining their own vehicles (to an extent), monthly service coupon (brakes).
Dealership does major work (mostly are still under warranty).
- General comments on maintenance:
- Regular oil changes, fluid changes, etc. Each truck
puts on about 65,000 to 70,000 miles per year, and each truck is replaced
approximately every 3 years (200,000 miles). Snow tires are used in the winter.
- Maintenance facilities:
- In-house/DOT/city/county/law enforcement facilities
- All trucks are maintained at a MnDOT maintenance
- Handled by DPS.
- Maintenance facilities are used a strategic staging
areas for the Incident Response trucks. Instead of having one centrally located facility that all the trucks are
staged at, we have strategically placed Incident Response trucks at the nearest
maintenance facility closest to the Responders home address (within the Metropolitan
area) to decrease response times when responding to emergencies or when
reporting to their corridors for day to day operations.
- Park at state police/highway patrol barracks. Don’t
have much tied up in the overhead of maintenance facilities. Try not to put
money into the program into items that don’t add to service.
- PTC maintenance sheds.
- We call out maintenance when we need them. We have a
partnership with the state patrol where they provide training to our people.
- Work with TDOT Maintenance.
- Contractor responsible:
- By contractor.
- Contractor provided.
- Drivers are contracted, so most of the elements are the
responsibility of the contractor.
- The contractor provides as part of the contract.
- Numerous facilities in our area that we go to.
- Trucks are taken to downtown facilities.
- Outreach and awareness:
- At the end of the service call.
- By DOT.
- FTOs (field training officers) within the unit and
supervisors go out on shifts in different areas and do outreach to different
fire/police departments to let them know what our capabilities are, let them
see trucks, go to roll calls, etc.
- In the beginning when the FSP service first started,
there was a press conference held to inform the public about the service.
- Instant management committee around the state, public
affairs office, communicate and development relationship with radio and TV
traffic reported – cheerleaders, operators go to community events and
- MAG Web site—that’s the only place with an
update. Also, show off vehicles at events; well recognized; lots of support
from public; 12,000 motorists were helped last year.
- Media outreach (ride along with the Service Patrol).
- Most recently a public awareness campaign was held
referencing the “Move Over Law” that has been recently approved and released
within Oregon. During this
campaign it was identified that the Incident Response trucks performing
motorist assists on the side of the highway are also certified emergency
vehicles that fall under the category of this law.
- Only do if there is a request. TxDOT is looking into
this; no plan yet.
- Our people to call in and update the TMC and that
information gets put out via web site, etc., and released to public
- Probably not enough of this done. A few years ago, due
to budget shortfalls, the legislature and MnDOT were looking at ways to reduce
costs and they considered eliminating this program. After much education
effort, we were able to convince them that the FIRST program is a vital
component of our Incident Management program and has many benefits to the
public including congestion reduction and crash reduction.
- Public Affairs department that handles that.
- Talk to Exxon, have booths at conferences, speak to
- We promote the program through brochures and posters.
- WisDOT has developed a brochure describing the service
and FSP operators hand the brochure out at each assist they make.
Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines – Yes/No, if yes may we have a copy?
- A copy of the contract can be made available upon
- Being reviewed and updated. We keep up on everything
from state and federal.
- DPS has them.
- Guidelines are included in the FSP contract language
and the draft RFP for contract services (copy provided).
- Our current Standard Operating Guideline is being
revised (copy provided).
- Pretty standard. Didn’t feel comfortable giving the SOP
Guidelines as they are in the midst of updating. Will be out shortly.
- Under redevelopment at this time.
- We have guidelines for the service patrol vehicles in
the contract, but there are no Standard Operating Procedures.
- Yes, Unified Incident Command plan.
- Not yet developed.
- There are no written standard operating procedures; the
contract indicates how the FSP are to operate.
- In this era of National Preparedness for disasters,
how is the service patrol/personnel anticipated to be used during a major
Add vehicles as necessary to facilitate traffic.
Any motorist that stops on the highway or on top or
under structures is checked and encouraged to move on as a normal part of
business. Removing incidents quickly and helping keep motorists moving during
any type of evacuation by opening the lanes with either providing fuel or
fixing minor issues or towing vehicles is an asset besides the normal elements
of protecting the scene by blocking lanes in a very expeditious way until
additional help arrives.
Assistance to highway patrols, both PSP and local
police, for disabled vehicle removal and for assistance with traffic control.
By DOT or patrolling authority as requested. All
depends on the agency. For example, hurricane in Florida—sent a bunch of
trucks down there, vans are there to be used as needed, but not part of a plan
or a first responder list, no MOU.
During Hurricane Rita it was a big deal. They were
escorting field trucks and offering cases and cases of water. Fuel was also
provided. Escort of fuel tanks. Whatever they could help with for people.
If a disaster happens, FSP is not allowed to go outside
their scope of work. Based on the type of and seriousness of disaster, the FSP
program will be suspended for that day.
In accordance with UIC, evacuation, and detour plans.
Incident Response and the TMOC would perform their
duties as they do on a day to day operation. Both crews are fluent in the Incident Command System and its
intent. Specific guidelines are
referenced out of our Emergency Operations Plan that outlines specific
procedures above and beyond current day to day operations.
It is anticipated that the FSP would operate during a
disaster – i.e., if there was an evacuation the FSP could provide a valuable
service in quickly assisting/removing stalled vehicles, which could have
significant impact on traffic flow.
Not part of a formalized plan—in the process of
formalizing. Are responsive to the sheriff’s department. Have the capability to
call people, though not in contract.
Provide traffic control assistance.
Road Rangers provide evacuation support for motorists.
Beats can be expanded, and can be augmented with emergency contracts to
function on short notice once a state of emergency is declared.
They are all ICS 100 & 200 certified. The
supervisors are kept up to date on Hurricane routes that they will patrol and
other disaster-related information that is shared with NCDOT by State Emergency
Management through regular meetings.
They will be used as they are during normal rush-hour
operations unless called upon to provide traffic control at a specific
location, e.g., a ramp to the interstate, etc.
Use them like we would use for any major emergency,
have the ability to call them in to keep the roads open with tow trucks. No
disaster training being done.
We have held meetings with the MnDOT Director of
Homeland Security and are part of the established metropolitan evacuation plan.
We will follow the incident command structure in any major incident. We are
generally used to provide traffic control and block ramps, etc.
We help with evacuations in times of contraflow. Our
role is to assist in helping to keep roads open during an evacuation.
We do a variety of things. We act as state highway
liaison; provide traffic control, clearance support, and equipment support; act
as liaison for equipment routing; and serve as a conduit to signal operations
to retime signals along alternate routes.
We would do the same as we do now, respond to highway
emergency initially and then assist state patrol or National Guard as needed.
We are support to Wisconsin patrol or National Guard. We would be involved in
wind storms, for example. We would shut down roads and put traffic control in
place. Once situation is stabilized, assist with traffic control. Our function
at a big emergency is the same, but the scale is larger. Our people are all
trained in NIMS and know their role in terms of assisting and supporting that
Work with other agencies as needed and provide support
to homeland security, etc.
Work with TEMA, employee staffed with them
that coordinates management of activities, included in state disaster plan,
part of Nashville downtown evacuation planning. Value is traffic control;
constantly in training.
5.4 Benefits and Lessons Learned
- A: How is the general performance of the program measured? (NOTE: Some
service patrols use more than one method to measure performance so those were
separated into the categories below.)
- Comments cards/survey forms:
- An FSP Assisted Motorist Survey Form has been developed
to collect information. It is included as a component of the FSP Program
Brochure. The driver distributes a copy to each party they assist.
- By motorists feedback, immediate contact evaluations.
- Public comments.
- Public feedback—comment card, often via email.
- Push to have comment cards that they give to the
motorists. Most are very positive.
- Self addressed/postage paid survey cards are provided
to every motorist assisted.
- The operators are also required to distribute motorist
comments cards to each motorist they assist. These cards are sent directly back
to WisDOT and are regularly reviewed.
- Visibility on the roadway and a State Farm customer
satisfaction reply card
- We get comment cards, letters, number of stops, and
types of service provided information from the districts. Rangers carry comment
cards with them. The comment cards are provided to the motorist, and it is
requested that the motorist fill out the card and mail (postage is paid by
FDOT) them to the central office. We review and scan for data and provide
summary back to districts.
- Program Statistics:
- By number and type of assists. This year, TMC is
dispatching so response time and incident duration will be measured.
- Contractors are required to maintain detailed service
logs, which are used to identify simple performance measures such as number of
motorist assists and type of service provided.
- Currently, the program is measured only by the number
of incidents removed, type, and duration.
- Have them report on activities, daily, weekly, and
monthly reports. Record successful assists.
- Incidents can be queried to determine response,
clearance and reporting times for local agencies to determine the efficiency of
the program and identify improvement areas during lessons learned debriefs.
- Measured by the number of calls received.
- Patrol statistics (specific incident info). All
vehicles have mobile data computer that is entered in real time—know what
happened during all calls. If there is a vehicle that isn’t meeting standards,
need to reevaluate operating and/or route.
- Performance of the program is measured by how many
motorists are assisted each year and how quickly vehicles are removed from the
- Statistics. How many contacts are made on the street
with other motorists. Statistics that are generated based on work being done.
Collect info on amount of work being done. Comment sheet from public, 15-20 responses/month
– mostly positive.
- We have a gray notebook, quarterly reporting of
performance throughout agency. We also participate in the government
accountability program, and partner with patrols to report performance,
response times, and clearance times with Governor’s GMAP program.
- We have performance goals in business plan that we try
to meet every year as far as response times, etc.
- We have only been using number of stops. We are
changing to a more performance-based management and will grade the program
based on response times, clearance times, and congestion levels. This is under
- We look at the number of assists, clearance times,
travel lanes broken down into commercial incidents vs. incidents that don’t
have commercial vehicles involved. We look at time frames as far as roadway
clearance and incidence clearance, and the time it takes to get all responders
off scene. We look at response times to get all equipment off scene.
- We measure incident clearance times including interim
measures of FIRST arrival, State Patrol arrival, tow arrival, lanes clear, etc.
We also document numbers of incidents we respond to and type of incident
(stall, stall blocking, crash, debris, etc.).
- We measure performance based on the number of motorists
that have been helped. Get a break down of how many and circumstances.
- No real measurement:
- Hard to measure; didn’t do a lot of pre-program
analysis. Don’t have a cost–benefit, just use TTI figures. They project
savings of $15, keep count of traffic of numbers—biggest challenge.
B: Has a benefit/cost ratio been determined? If so, does a report/document
exist that summarizes how the ratio was calculated and what assumptions were
made and may we obtain a copy?
- No (7):
- If it has, I don’t remember. Not sure.
- No, wish there was a national standard for cost
- Not been attempting yet, thinking about getting some.
- Not to my knowledge. But University of Washington
Research Center has a program to do a benefit/cost study. Should be available
- Thought about it, but thought it was a waste of time.
Other studies indicate better than 1:35; not a danger because funded for 20
- A B/C ratio has not specifically been determined,
although a formal evaluation of the program was conducted by Marquette
University and the University of Wisconsin in 2000.
- A cost benefit analysis was completed in November of
2005. The overall cost benefit ratio for the Florida Road Ranger Program is
25.8 to 1. A summary of the report has been attached.
- Customer service value and P3 offsetting costs.
- In some markets, yes.
- The effectiveness of the FSP program is assessed by
calculating the annual benefit/cost ratio of each FSP beat. First, the annual
savings in incident delay, fuel consumption and air pollutant emissions due to
FSP service are calculated based on the number of assists, beat geometries and
traffic volumes. The savings are then translated into benefits using monetary
values for delay ($10/hr.) and fuel consumption ($2/gal.). The costs include
the annual capital, operating and administrative costs for providing FSP
service. The FSP evaluation methodology is incorporated into an Excel
spreadsheet. Input data requirements consist of beat geometries (number of
lanes, presence of shoulders), traffic volumes, and the number and
characteristics of FSP assists. The statewide average benefit/cost ratio for
fiscal year 2006/07 was 6.3-to-1.
- There was an evaluation completed by the Pennsylvania
Transportation Institute 1 ½ years after the onset of the Parkway
Service Patrols. This report included the benefits of having the service
patrol. It was never matched against the costs associated with having the
- We have a cost-benefit ratio study done every year by
the University of Maryland. Ours is one of the premier benefit-cost ratios in
the country, along with Washington State. Older studies also on www.chart.state.md.us Reading room.
- Yes, attached (NCDOT).
- Yes, 15.8:1.
- Yes, in 2004 Portland State University Center for
Transportation Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering Center for
Transportation Studies created the document titled Using Archived Data to
Measure Operational Benefits of ITS Investments: Region 1 Incident Response
C: How is contractor performance measured?
- Comments cards/surveys
- At the end of each service call, the motorist is
provided with a self-addressed stamped post card evaluating the service he
received. If an operator receives more than one unfavorable review in the last
six shifts he worked, he will be counseled, a second such situation will result
in a warning, a third will result in a suspension, and a fourth will cause a
- It is measured on the responses we get from the
traveling public. At the onset, there were pre-paid post cards that were given
to motorists on the service they were provided. These cards were sent to the
TMC Manager and tracked.
- Public comments are the best indicator.
- Survey cards.
- The operators are also required to distribute motorist
comments cards to each motorist they assist. These cards are sent directly back
to WisDOT and are regularly reviewed.
- Through the use of the Survey Cards.
- Statistics and public comment
- By number and type of assists and customer survey
- Contract compliance, patrol statistics, patrolling
authority and public feedback.
- Contractors are required to maintain detailed service
logs, which are used to identify simple performance measures such as number of
motorist assists and type of service provided.
- There are regular employee evaluations. Performance
based on number of contacts per day. As individuals, they’ve helped on the road
to fill out a survey. They receive hundreds of thank you letters that they also
use as a performance measure.
- Statistics/contract requirements/inspections
- Contractors are gauged by number of trucks on road;
trucks are reviewed and inspected for proper equipment by district supervisor.
- Every month, the truck and driver is inspected by a FSP
coordinator and they can receive a grade of needs improvement, meets, exceeds,
and outstanding. Every 3 months, we give an award for driver of the quarter.
Driver of the quarter is based on the monthly inspections, citizen write-ins,
no complaints, no accidents, and not being counseled for the 3 months. Once a
year, we give an award for driver of the year. The driver of the year is picked
from the four drivers of the quarter.
- Submitting reports, close handle on it so we are very
in the loop. Send out own inspectors. Hear from State Police.
- Other comments
- Partnering with other agencies to help growth. Active
participants in FHWA; would like to see a national coalition.
- A: From your experience what are your top lessons learned?
- Coordination/relationships with other agencies:
- Effective communications with all the partners is key
to clearing incidents quickly and safely.
- Getting agency (and the right agencies) so that it can
be sustained. Lucky to get with the MPO without having to dance around for
funding. If you are doing this, look at integration into overall transportation
- Incident response is part of overall traffic incident
management program within the state. It’s bigger than just Washington patrol
and DOT. It is a true partnership with other agencies. And trying to maintain
partnerships is cost intensive and time intensive, with all the counties and
personnel. So it’s a challenge. Also, dealing with local agencies that don’t
have centralized command and control. So it’s a challenge to reach out and
touch all the people in all the areas that you need to partner with.
- It is all about the relationships; most traffic
incident management problems can be handled through communications and
relationship building. If there’s a need to spend money on equipment training,
the biggest bang for buck is developing relationships and everyone working
together. Goes a long way. When those relationships get built, we are able to
discuss the real issues out there in a non-confrontational manner and start
discussing solutions. We work together as a group to get those things done.
- It is very important to establish positive
relationships with law enforcement and the towing industry before implementing
a freeway service patrol program. Convincing everyone that a service patrol is
an integral part of an Incident Management Program and getting support from all
involved will make for a smooth transition.
- When we first began program, there was a lot of
interaction with law enforcement, but not much with fire department. We needed
to have more with fire department. And we have been working on building that relationship
and coordinating with them.
- Funding—not that high. Can’t hire auto mechanics;
get people who are interested in autos and trucks.
- Insure the portion of program funding dollars is
directed towards program operation rather than administration of the program.
- One of the challenges is the higher fuel costs. Fuel is
such a huge part of what we do. Trying to absorb cost of higher fuel is
impacting our program.
- Incident management:
- Incident response is more than just incident response
trucks. We have agreements with 14 counties to haul vehicle/body and do
extrication there and reduce exposure of responder. Incident response is just one
piece of incident traffic management. It involves a lot of different players,
so we have to work with them.
- In minor incidents where vehicles could be moved from
the roadway, their quick removal by the FSP has allowed us to restore traffic
flow more quickly and reduce the traffic queuing (observations made during
events by watching the CCTV cameras in the area).
- The effectiveness of the VMS boards on the FIRST trucks
is invaluable in helping to direct traffic and slow motorists down.
- The program is needed for both managing traffic
congestion, providing costumer service, and assisting with NIMS. With three
service vehicles, we had been helping 8,000 motorists a year, and since we
contracted out six more at reduced hours, we are up to 14,000 assists. The
emergency responders love the service and continuously ask to increase the
hours of coverage.
- A lot of motorists aren’t aware the service is
available, so we need to make sure motorists are more aware.
- Provide Community Safety Education and event support.
- There is public education and outreach. Folks out there
that know about us are the ones that see and use us, but we need to reach out
more to those who haven’t yet used our services.
- We are also providing more public information on the
Move Over law that is in effect in Florida as well as other states.
- Biggest challenge is turnover of personnel within the
contractor; his was the low bid so quality can be marginal, because he is just
squeaking by. Trying to establish a minimum wage to the drivers. If I had it my
way “take a serious look at making it state employees because you can give them
more experience and responsibility;” states would take over all together. Also,
would like to have at least 16 hours a day coverage; would be easier to get
with state workers.
- Expanding a program with temporary employees minimizes
growth. Turnover and retention is a constant issue. Constant retraining of new
employees is also an issue. With experience comes the benefits of added safety
(with additional knowledge) and efficiencies in clearance techniques with the
added skills learned over time.
- From the contracting side, make sure the hours of
operation equals a full shift for each driver to enable each driver a 40-hour
work week (you will end up paying the same amount for a 6-hour day as you would
for an 8-hour day).
- Managers deal mostly with personnel. Get qualified
people who are interested in doing the work.
- Match personnel training to incidents expected to
resolve. Hire and support the best people as operators.
- More positions are needed to effectively mitigate
traffic in the upcoming future. Traffic congestion will only increase with more vehicles on the road and
with limited construction capabilities we will be forced to find unique ways to
manage incidents thru contra-flow during big incidents, most efficient access
points for emergency services, etc.
- Public Benefit:
- Has always been a great benefit to our customers.
- I’ve learned this is a great program and it is a great
benefit to the public.
- Public has embraced the service.
- The MAP program has been received well by the public
and provides an opportunity to foster good will and to increase mobility on the
- The program is very beneficial to traveling motorists,
and the majority of people sincerely appreciate service when received.
- The public is appreciative of the service, but holds
very high expectations of PennDOT for this. If a motorist is in distress during
times when the service patrols are not active, they asked about it and wanted
to know why they were not assisted as others have been. These times show that
through the expansion of the service patrol, more motorists would be assisted.
- The public survey cards returned indicate very
positively that the public likes and approves of the service.
- Very valuable tool for the taxpayers. They are pleased
with the service and how fast we react and respond to calls for help.
Supervisors and staff do a great job.
- Any program that deals with highway safety can always
do better at providing more training. We want to have as many patrols on the
road as possible. Maximizing service is the goal, so training is hard to coordinate
because we have to pull patrols off the road. Priorities are making sure they
focus on safety and providing continuing education for the operators.
- “Don’t turn your back to traffic” – training is
important. Have to be aware of environment because it’s dangerous out on the
road. Safety is important.
- Other lessons:
- Always stock up on water and always be prepared.
- Implement web-enabled systems to monitor personnel
attendance and performance.
- Provide public safety level AVL/GPS systems.
Design, build, and equip service vehicles to address a wide variety of
B: What has been your biggest challenge
and what lessons learned can you offer from your experience administering the
- Progressing through the contract process with all the
different departments/divisions that need to assist, review, and approve the
contract documents. Insuring that the payments to the contractor are processed
in the system in a timely manner for the services that have been rendered.
- WisDOT has found that it is very important to have
dedicated staffing for contract administration when services are contracted
out. Additionally, a comprehensive contract with clear, strong contract
language is invaluable. Finally, one of the biggest challenges has been
ensuring that contractors follow driver training requirements and hire good,
well qualified operators for the service.
- Explaining the benefits/quick clearance:
- Balancing our IMAP program with our ITS program. For a
long time, we focused on traveler information and installed message boards,
detection and cameras to tell the public what was in the road. Explaining the
benefits of actually clearing the road has been difficult. Without proper
reporting, expanding our program has been difficult.
- Biggest challenge is communicating and demonstrating to
ITS managers and consultants the value of implementing public safety level
freeway service patrols and why they meet the needs of the motoring public and
patrolling authorities alike.
- Even with the assistance of the service patrols, we
still have to coordinate better with our local partners to build an
understanding of “quick clearance.” We communicate that through our service
patrols, but since we do not have control of the incident, it is impossible to
clear in an efficient manner.
- We are working hard to provide better communication
between the program and other emergency responders.
- Funding is always an issue. Fuel costs and such make it
tough to expand program.
- This has been the most positive program implemented. However,
we would like to see more patrol services and our own department personnel,
instead of having to contract out. The biggest challenge is identifying money
to support the program.
- Other challenges:
- AVL tracking is a good way to monitor the daily
operation and having a good database helps to manage the program.
- Expansion is a challenge because the personnel that
work in Dallas County live there, makes getting around a challenge. Might have
to get people and trucks from the other counties. Frustration for
motorists—get a call at 8:45pm, but can’t help people because trucks have
to be back by 9pm.
- They have not yet encountered any major challenges and
the program is currently running very smoothly.
- Qualified personnel:
- As populations increase so too will traffic. Without
the appropriate level of positions that will increase at an equitable rate with
the population growth, the traffic situation will far outweigh the staffing
agencies will have to combat the growing problem.
- Keeping qualified personnel. Currently union personnel
at a low rate. Personnel tend to be up out of the position.
- The biggest challenge to our FSP program is the
rotation of the drivers. New drivers constantly need training on radio
procedures and how to respond to calls.
- If more funding was to become available, how
would it best be spent? (Some had several priorities so these have been split
into the categories below.)
- Expand service areas/hours
- Add more patrols and mileage to be able to assist on
the side of the road for minor incidences. More coverage to expand to the
highway and not only the interstate.
- Expand and increase our patrol.
- Expand to York and Lancaster metropolitan areas (add 5
to 6 more trucks).
- Expanding the coverage area to incorporate all of the
freeway miles in the Lehigh Valley, which would require more FSP vehicles as
well as expand the hours of operation to cover the portion of the day that
carries the majority of the traffic (currently Monday to Friday 6 am to 9 am
and 3 pm to 7 pm, consider Monday to Friday 5 am to 10 pm).
- Have a night shift and weekend shift.
- I would increase the service.
- I would like to expand our coverage on I-79 to the
north and south, and I would include major arterials that lead into the City of
Pittsburgh. These facilities are very narrow and any incident causes major
motorist delay. With the help of service patrols in these areas, I believe we
would be able to assist more motorists and clear smaller incidents more
- Increase hours and service areas.
- Increase the hours of operation, would be good to
expand to the shoulders areas of the peak periods. Extra special event
- Increased patrols would provide more public benefit.
- More coverage, additional routes and expanded hours
(2nd more important).
- Probably to expand coverage (add routes).
- Provide additional service vehicles to patrol roadways
and extending patrol hours of existing routes.
- Right now, we’ve got a lot of funding coming our way
because we’re expanding our operation and the program even more. So that would
be the biggest thing. Expanding the area, more trucks, and more territory.
- Then consider expanding the patrols.
- We also would like to have 24/7 patrols.
- We would extend the hours of coverage in some existing
areas, and add new coverage areas.
- WisDOT would expand the hours of operation and possibly
the areas of service. Specifically, services would be expanded to further
support seasonal and special event traffic demands.
- Would like a 24/7 operation
- Additional staffing/contracting/increase pay levels:
- Change salary and allow for advancement for the
- If acquiring permanent positions remains as it is now,
the money would be spent contracting our additional patrols and looking into
putting a skeleton patrol out for a 24/7 response. We are still a response agency
after notification. We need to become an emergency response agency that is more
proactive in clearing lanes. Expanding this program is the best, most cost
effective way to bridge the gap to having NCDOT become a truly proactive
- Increasing positions for the Incident Response Program
since we will never be able to build ourselves out of congestion, we will have
to mitigate incidents thru effective and efficient traffic management of which
the Incident Responders are an integral piece of a successful program.
- More positions would be great to expand program.
- Most important, would like to give pay increases to
employees to hire additional people who have the education and skill level to
do the job right.
- We are interested in pay incentives to heavy truck tows
to clear traffic.
- Update fleet/equipment:
- Equipment and more training to begin with. Funding
priorities right now are to ensure all rangers have the best equipment, provide
more training, and expand program. We want to make sure the guys out there
right now have the best equipment they can have.
- If more funding was available, it would best be used
for newer radios.
- Update our fleet and add more trucks and equipment.
Hire more employees and mechanics. Purchase more equipment that is needed to
update the fleet.
- Upgrade equipment (including cameras, detection, etc.
in addition to equipment in and on the trucks).
- Additional priorities:
- Additional detection on system to monitor things and
- Do more outreach and marketing.
- Interested in having regional traffic incident
management teams to support local programs. We would also like to continue and
expand a statewide traffic management conference. We had the first conference
last year on a shoestring budget. Need 400 or 500 people there to do something.
- Interested in traffic incident management training at
fire academies and schools.
- We could use more funding for tow-away zones in metro
- We would like to have funding for rural fire
departments. Complaints that they have to come out on state highway and get no
revenue for that.
July 9, 2008