Federal Highway Administration
Service Patrol Handbook
July 9, 2008
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This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the department of transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.
The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the object of the document.
This Handbook provides an overview of the Full-Function Service Patrol (FFSP) and describes desired program characteristics from the viewpoint of an agency that is responsible for funding, managing, and operating the services. Presented guidelines and rules of thumb illustrate operational characteristics, sponsorship, level of service, number of vehicles needed, vehicle types and equipment, patrol frequency, operator and manager training, and services provided. The primary audience for the Handbook comprises State department of transportation (DOT) decision-makers, managers, operators, and practitioners who are responsible for, or are considering, implementing an FFSP program as part of a strategy to reduce congestion.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) encourages the largest metropolitan jurisdictions and their States to establish or upgrade service patrols to the standards outlined in this Handbook and to establish an FFSP program to provide a frequency of coverage that supports statewide incident clearance goals. This includes integration of the FFSP with regional traffic management center (TMC) operations so the patrol can be readily dispatched to incident locations as needed. The FFSP program functions will also include typical services currently provided in many programs today, such as providing minor repairs and motorist assistance, debris removal, providing fuel, providing first aid, pushing vehicles out of travel lanes, and assisting emergency services at crash scenes. An FFSP program is anticipated to reduce traffic congestion, improve travel time reliability, and improve safety on freeway and arterial systems in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT’s) National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America’s Transportation Network (Congestion Initiative). Also, the program is expected to be consistent with the objectives of the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition’s (NTIMC’s) National Unified Goal (NUG) for Traffic Incident Management (TIM).
Technical Report Documentation Page
Table of Contents
Chapter 2 Current Service Patrol Situational Analysis
Chapter 3 Full-Function Service Patrol Justification and Nature of Changes
Chapter 4 Full-Function Service Patrol Concept
Chapter 5 Service Patrol Telephone Survey Results
Chapter 6 Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms
Chapter 7 Referenced Documentation
List of Figures
Figure 1. Congestion Trends in U.S. Cities
Figure 2. The Sources of Congestion – National Summary
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July 9, 2008
United States Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration
Last Modified: March 18, 2021