Freeway Service Patrol
The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is a joint program provided by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the local transportation agency. The FSP program is a free service of privately owned tow trucks that patrol designated routes on congested urban California freeways. Typically, FSP operates Monday through Friday during peak commute hours, and all day in pre-designated freeway construction zones. In heavily congested freeway corridors it is becoming more commonplace for FSP to operate during the midday and on weekends/holidays in addition to the weekday peak period service.
The goal of the FSP is to maximize the effectiveness of the freeway transportation system. The FSP is a congestion management tool which strategically addresses commute traffic pattern problems. Deployment of the FSP trucks is driven by congestion patterns in major metropolitan areas. It is necessary for the FSP program to respond immediately to changing or increasing needs for impediment mitigation.
The goal is accomplished by the expeditious removal of disabled/stranded vehicles from the freeway. Removing obstructions on the freeways as rapidly as possible has a positive impact on traffic volumes by eliminating problems which contribute to non-recurrent congestion. Each year, the FSP program assists approximately 650,000 motorists on California's highway system.
Rapid removal of freeway obstructions also reduces fuel consumption and minimizes automobile emissions by reducing the time vehicles spend idling in stopped traffic. Currently, over 350 tow trucks operated by CHP-trained, certified and supervised drivers, patrol in excess of 1,750 miles of the most congested freeways in California.If you get stuck on the freeway because your automobile stops running, FSP can help.
For example, FSP will:
If FSP cannot get your car going, it will be towed free of charge to a location approved by the CHP. The FSP will also contact additional assistance for you. The CHP will notify an auto club or towing service.
The FSP serves the following areas:
Q: What is the FSP program?
Q: Where is the FSP program deployed?
Q: How large is the FSP program?
Q: How much does the FSP program cost?
Q: What other benefits are derived from the FSP program?
The FSP tow truck driver implements preliminary measures to stabilize and protect the scene to ensure safety and minimize the risk of secondary collisions. The responding CHP officer receives up-to-date information about the incident prior to arriving at the scene, e.g., injuries, traffic conditions, required rescue services and equipment, etc. Supplied with updated information, the officer prepares his/her incident plan and coordinates the response of the additional services. The critical time required to mitigate the freeway incident is substantially reduced and the normal traffic flow is expeditiously restored.
In the Management Information System Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2009/10, Caltrans reported the average benefit/cost ratio was 8.3:1 among the 13 programs evaluated. (The El Dorado FSP program was not included in the evaluation because the program started in 2010.) This ratio does not factor in the benefits associated with air quality improvement or collision reduction.