Freeway Service Patrol keeps traffic flowing smoothly

Freeway Service Patrol
Credit John Huseby, Caltrans

The Bay Area Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) helps prevent freeway congestion during peak traffic hours by clearing vehicle accidents, picking up dangerous items left on the roadway and helping stranded motorists.

A partnership between MTC, the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Transportation, emergency services are provided to drivers at no charge. Driver assistance might include providing a gallon of gas, a battery jump start or a radiator refill – simple fixes that get vehicles back on the road quickly.

According to the 2020 FSP annual report (the most recent data available), over 88,000 motorists were helped that year. More than 16,000 drivers received assistance for a mechanical problem, while 14,500 drivers were helped with a flat tire, and nearly 6,000 needed gas to get their vehicles back on the road.

Every year, the Freeway Service Patrol:

  • Saves Bay Area motorists nearly 4 million hours of delay time
  • Reduces fuel use by nearly 2 million gallons
  • Reduces tailpipe emissions by several hundred tons

Freeway traffic dropped significantly at the start of the pandemic, but vehicle traffic is again at pre-2020 levels, and the work of FSP operators is more important now than ever.

Visit the FSP website to learn more about the program.

Has the Freeway Service Patrol helped you? Take the quick survey.

The FSP program costs approximately $17 million annually, and is funded through state and local funds. Local funds come from MTC's Service Authority for Freways and Expressways (SAFE) – $1 per year from every vehicle registration in participating counties. Additionally, money from the SB 1 Road Repair and Accountability Act has enabled a significant expansion of the program.

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