View By Application

Traffic Incident Management > Mobilization & Response > Service Patrols


Service patrols, occasionally initiated prior to the emergence of ITS technologies, are now frequently incorporated into traffic management systems. These patrols typically consist of specially equipped vehicles and trained staff that can assist stranded motorists, help clear minor incidents and assist with the safe management of traffic around major incident scenes.


Overall benefit-cost ratio for traffic incident management-oriented ITS program estimated to be 3.16.(July 31, 2015)

Delay savings benefit-to-cost ratio of 8.5:1 found with deployment of a traffic incident management system in Knoxville, Tennessee (05/01/2012)

In 2009, the Washington State DOT Incident Response Team was able to clear 98 percent of incidents in under an hour and nearly three quarters in less than 15 minutes.(November 19, 2010)

Simulated deployment of Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) technologies on the I-394 corridor in Minneapolis show a benefit-cost ratio of 22:1 over ten years.(November 2010)

The St. Louis Motorist Assist program had a benefit-cost ratio of 38.25:1, with annual secondary crashes lowered by 1,082 and annual congestion costs lowered by $1,130,000.(February 2010)

An Arterial Service Patrol deployed during the re-construction of I-64 in St. Louis had a benefit-cost ratio of 8.3:1, lowered secondary crashes by 183 per year, and reduced annual congestion costs by $1,034,000.(December, 2009)

An Arterial Service Patrol deployed during the re-construction of I-64 in St. Louis had a benefit-cost ratio of 8.3:1, lowered secondary crashes by 183 per year, and reduced annual congestion costs by $1,034,000.(December, 2009)

Michigan DOT Freeway Courtesy Patrol evaluation estimates benefit cost ratio of 15:1 and substantial savings in traffic delays and harmful emissions.(February 2009)

Benefit-Cost Ratios of up to 25.8:1 have been produced in regions with aggressive Freeway Service Patrol programs.(November 2008)

Northern Virginia's freeway safety service patrol (SSP) had an estimated annual savings of $6.49 million in motorist delay and fuel consumption resulting in a benefit-cost ratio of 5.4:1.(2008)

The average duration of incidents assisted by the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Safety Service Patrol (SSP) was 17.3 percent shorter than the duration for matching incidents without NOVA SSP assistance.(2008)

A multi-jurisdictional emergency response crew in the Phoenix metropolitan area provides services to six cities with a benefit-cost ratio of 6.4:1.(August 2007)

The safety service patrol (SSP) in Hampton Roads, Virginia decreased the average incident duration by 70.7 percent.(2007)

The safety service patrol (SSP) in Hampton Roads, Virginia produced an annual benefit of $11 million in fuel savings and reductions in motorist delay.(2007)

The benefit-cost ratio for the safety service patrol (SSP) in Hampton Roads, Virginia was 4.71:1.(2007)

In Georgia, the NaviGAtor incident management program reduced the average incident duration from 67 minutes to 21 minutes, saving 7.25 million vehicle-hours of delay over one year. (August 2006)

In Georgia, the HERO motorist assistance patrol program and NaviGAtor incident management activities saved more than 187 million dollars yielding a benefit-to-cost ratio of 4.4:1.(August 2006)

In Georgia, the Navigator incident management program reduced secondary crashes from an expected 676 to 210 in the twelve months ending April 2004.(August 2006)

In Georgia, the NaviGAtor incident management program reduced annual fuel consumption by 6.83 million gallons, and contributed to decreased emissions: 2,457 tons less Carbon monoxide, 186 tons less hydrocarbons, and 262 tons less Nitrous oxides.(August 2006)

In Atlanta, satisfaction with motorist assistance patrols ranged from 93 to greater than 95 percent in two separate surveys of drivers who were already aware of the service.(August 2006)

Freeway Service Patrol: "About FSP", and "Facts at a Glance" (Web Site)(22 June 2006)

In Florida, the Road Ranger Service Patrol program saved over 1.7 million gallons of fuel by eliminating over one million vehicle-hours of delay in 2004.(November 2005)

In North Carolina, a work zone equipped with smart work zone traveler information systems observed fewer crashes compared to other work zones without the technology.(May 2005)

Break even point calculated for an incident response program: reducing 30 seconds per incident results in $711,300 reduction in costs of delay, equivalent to the cost of operating the incident response program for a year.(June 2004)

In Utah, incident management teams in Salt Lake Valley area decreased incident duration by approximately 20 minutes per incident on three major interstates.(March 2004)

In 2002, the Maryland CHART highway incident management program reduced delay by about 30 million vehicle hours and saved about 5 million gallons of fuel.(November 2003)

In 2002 the Maryland State CHART highway incident management system facilitated a 28.6 percent reduction on the average incident duration leading to an estimated 377 fewer secondary incidents. (November 2003)

A study of the Coordinated Highways Action Response Team in Maryland found that the system reduced incident duration and saved approximately 4.1 million gallons of fuel in 2000.(14-17 October 2002)

A study of the Coordinated Highways Action Response Team in Maryland found that the system reduced average incident duration by 57 percent in 2000.(14-17 October 2002)

In Oregon, an analysis of archived incident data showed that freeway service patrol programs that expand from part-time to full-time operations can reduce incident duration by 15 to 30 percent.(6/30/2001)

In Oregon, an analysis of archived incident data showed that freeway service patrol programs that expand from part-time to full-time operations can reduce the average cost of a delay-causing incident to travelers by 36 to 66 percent.(6/30/2001)

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, work zone surveillance and response at the "Big I" Interchange reduced average clearance time by 44 percent.(4-7 June 2001)

During the first year of operations at the "Big I" work zone in Albuquerque, temporary traffic management and motorist assistance patrols reduced the average incident response time to less than eight minutes, and no fatalities were reported.(4-7 June 2001)

In 1997, the Maryland CHART highway incident management program reduced delay by approximately 15.6 million vehicle hours and saved about 5.85 million gallons of fuel.(May 2000)

In 1997, the Maryland CHART highway incident management program facilitated a 35 percent reduction in the average incident duration which led to an estimated 337 fewer secondary incidents. (May 2000)

The Hoosier Helper program freeway service patrol program in Northwest Indiana had a projected benefit-to-cost ratio of 4.7:1 for daytime operations, and 13.3:1 for 24 hour operations.(September/October 1999)

Freeway Services Patrols: A State of the Practice(11-15 January 1998)

Incident Management: Challenges, Strategies, and Solutions for Advancing Safety and Roadway Efficiency(February 1997)

In Virginia, the deployment of a freeway service patrols was positively received by the public; Virginia DOT received hundreds of “thank you” letters.(1997)

An initial evaluation of the Maryland CHART program indicated that lane sensors and freeway video cameras in the coverage area supported incident management and contributed to a 5 percent reduction in non-recurrent congestion delay.(May 1996)

Innovations in Transportation and Air Quality: Twelve Exemplary Projects(1996)

Incident Management via Courtesy Patrol: Evaluation of a Pilot Program in Colorado(22-28 January 1995)

Annual operating cost of freeway courtesy patrol services in Michigan is $2.3 million.(July 31, 2015)

The overall cost to implement a region-wide Traffic Management System in Portland Oregon was estimated at $36 million.(09/01/2013)

Costs to deploy an Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) system in Minneapolis for ten years is estimated at $3.96 million.(November 2010)

The capital cost to integrate voice and data networks for regional traffic incident management was estimated at $10 million.(06/01/2010)

The service patrol program in St. Louis had operating costs of $2,015,378 in 2008, and operating costs of $2,075,839 in 2009.(February 2010)

The Northern Virginia Safety Service Patrol (NOVA SSP) had a total annual SSP operating cost of $1,193,511 in FY03 to FY04.(2008)

Cost estimates for rural ITS in Arizona (ITS maintenance, weather information systems, highway advisory radio, motorist assistance patrols, and training applications) totaled $3.78 million per year for five years.(September 2007)

The Safety Service Patrol (SSP) in Hampton Roads, Virginia, had a total annual operating cost of $2,353,238 from July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006.(2007)

Florida DOT District IV 2006 budget supports a variety of SMART SunGuide transportation management center programs.(January 2007)

Operating costs for Tennessee DOT’s HELP program were $6.5 million for FY 2005-06.(September 2006)

In Southeast Michigan, operating a freeway service patrol program ($2.4 million for 2005) proves cost effective.(August 2006)

The Los Angeles County Metro budgeted $20.5 million for the 2005 service patrol program.(22 June 2006)

Florida DOT District IV 2005 budget supports a variety of SMART SunGuide transportation management center programs.(31 January 2006)

A 2004 analysis of the Florida DOT Road Ranger program proves the service patrol is well worth the monthly costs of $1,133,085.(January 2006)

Operating costs for Tennessee DOT’s HELP program were $5.6 million for FY 2004-05.(October 2005)

The annualized life-cycle costs for full ITS deployment and operations in Tucson were estimated at $72.1 million. (May 2005)

A modeling study evaluated the potential deployment of full ITS capabilities in Cincinnati. The annualized life-cycle cost was estimated at $98.2 million.(May 2005)

The annualized life-cycle costs for full ITS deployment and operations in Seattle were estimated at $132.1 million.(May 2005)

In Southeast Michigan, operating a freeway service patrol program ($2.5 million for 2004) proves cost effective.(May 2005)

Colorado DOT launches service patrol program along I-70; 2005 operating costs are $1.5 million.(4 March 2005)

In Southeast Michigan, the 2003 freeway service patrol program proved cost effective.(May 2004)

The $106 million capital cost for CommuterLink - the Salt Lake City, Utah advanced transportation management system - includes numerous components such as a signal system, ramp metering, traveler information dissemination, traffic surveillance and monitoring, and fiber optic network.(March 2004)

Implemented as part of the Transportation Expansion (T-REX) project in Denver, Colorado, service patrols, operating at a cost of $55 per hour, help stranded motorists.(Winter 2002)

Safety service patrol - O&M cost/unit - $40.36(2/4/2013)

Safety Service Patrol Labor (Manager) - O&M cost/unit - $28.37(2007)

Safety Service Patrol Truck (rental) - O&M cost/unit - $28.37(2007)

Safety Service Patrol Labor (Foreperson) - O&M cost/unit - $28.37(2007)

Safety Service Patrol Labor (Patroller) - O&M cost/unit - $28.37(2007)

Severe Incident Response Vehicle - O&M cost/unit - $500000(January 2007)

Severe Incident Response Vehicle - O&M cost/unit - $309503(31 January 2006)

Mobile Communications Interface - Capital cost/unit - $2300 - Lifetime - 5 years(6/30/2005)

Service Patrol Expansion - O&M cost/unit - $70084(5 August 2004)

Service Patrol Expansion - O&M cost/unit - $70084(5 August 2004)

Arterial Incident Management Program - Capital cost/unit - $350000 - O&M cost/unit - $4224000(7 January 2004)

Involve end users and regional stakeholders, follow agency protocol for software development and release, and gain upper management support when designing and developing an Integrated Incident Management System.(23 March 2007)

Draw on the strengths of complementary relationships between the public and private sectors for successful implementation of ITS projects.(August 2006)

Adopt best practices for integrating emergency information into Transportation Management Center (TMC) operations to improve performance and increase public mobility, safety and security.(2/28/2006)

Invest in research and development for emergency integration.(2/28/2006)

Extend the application of emergency integration best practices to further improve emergency operations.(2/28/2006)

Integrate weather information into Transportation Management Center (TMC) operations to enhance the ability of operators to manage traffic in a more responsive and effective way during weather events.(2/28/2006)

Deploy ITS technologies including Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for dispatchers and responders in traffic incident management.(2005)

Coordinate extensively with other stakeholder agencies.(1/1/2004)

Use ITS to implement a reliable communications system in work zones.(1/1/2004)

Ensure initial and ongoing success of ITS deployments by providing sufficient start-up time, maintaining flexibility, and performing maintenance needs in-house.(1/1/2004)

Utilize technology sharing and training opportunities to form mutually beneficial relationships for successful incident management programs.(1/1/2004)

Utilize well-equipped safety service patrols to assist highway motorists after vehicle malfunctions or crashes, and to coordinate a safe and efficient response.(1/1/1999)