The Metropolitan Transportation Commission Service Authority
for Freeways and Expressways (MTC SAFE) is one of 18 SAFE’s
statewide, established under the California Vehicle Code Section
2421.5. The goal of MTC SAFE is to quickly identify and respond
to freeway incidents such as breakdowns and accidents in order
to minimize their impacts in terms of congestion, public safety
and air quality, and to increase the reliability of the freeway
system and better manage traffic flow.
In 1985 the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 1190 to enable counties
to generate revenue for the purpose of purchasing, installing, operating and
maintaining an emergency motorist aid system. A $1 per year fee on motor vehicle
registrations in the participating nine counties of the Bay Area is collected
by the California Department of Motor Vehicles and then transfered
to MTC SAFE. MTC SAFE collects approximately $6 million annually of which $1.2
million per year is for the operations and maintenance of the call box program.
The remaining funds, as stated by California legislation, help supplement the
Freeway Service Patrol program and the implementation, maintenance, and operations
of other related motorist aid services. The Bay Area FSP receives a share of
funds allocated to the statewide program based on a formula (including population,
freeway miles, and congestion rates).
MTC SAFE works in conjunction with the
California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the State Department of
Transportation (Caltrans) to implement various motorist aid
programs. Both partner agencies provide review, approval, and
operating services to MTC SAFE. In addition, MTC SAFE is part
of CalSAFE, a voluntary association made up of program managers
from each county or regional SAFE organization, CHP, and Caltrans.
Members of CalSAFE actively provide valuable input to assist
in the development of motorist aid programs. The organization
ensures that the programs are successful in providing motorist
aid services on the state highway system.
Incident Management Program
Call Box Program (CBX)
The Call Box Program
offers motorists who need emergency roadside assistance an
effective means of communication 24 hours per day, on over
a thousand miles of urban, suburban and rural freeways in the Bay
Area. Approximately 1,700 yellow roadside call boxes connect
motorist in need to a call answering center, which efficiently
dispatches appropriate tow or roadside assistance. Thus, the
program not only helps stranded motorists, but also helps to
reduce traffic congestion by speeding the removal of stalled
vehicles and other hazards.
Freeway Service Patrol (FSP)
The Freeway Service
Patrol is a fleet of roving tow trucks deployed during peak
travel times to clear accidents, assist motorists and remove dangerous debris
from freeways. 79 tow and service trucks patrol over 550 miles of Bay Area freeways
and highways, looking for incidents in the roadway, or responding to computer
and radio-dispatched requests for assistance from the CHP. In 2009, the Bay Area
FSP logged over 125,000 highway assists.
If you are an FSP contractor or would like more detailed information
on our program, please visit our program website at:
SAFE-Funded Capital Programs
As call box systems are implemented, SAFE legislation allows
for SAFE funding to be used for alternate freeway motorist
aid services and incident management activities. In the
Bay Area, the Freeway Service Patrol program has been making
use of SAFE funds to supplement State-dedicated FSP funds since
the inception of the FSP program in 1992.
In 2002, the SAFE
program instituted a Capital Program in order to carry out
additional freeway incident management projects. In
most cases, SAFE funding is used to leverage federal and state
funds by providing local match. A few of the higher profile
projects currently underway include:
Camera Surveillance project
The Bay Area
Video Upgrade (BAVU) project will provide an improved camera
control and monitoring system for the operators at the Regional
Transportation Management Center (TMC) and will provide for
real-time traffic video distribution to other transportation
partners and the media.
- Freeway Performance
Initiative Corridor Studies
is intended to fund the early implementation of the initial
set of system management strategies being developed through
the Freeway Performance Initiative.
- Automated Transportation
This project will improve the operation of
the freeway system by integrating all tools used by TMC operators into a single
unified system, including centralized control of ramp metering, surveillance
cameras, changeable message signs and detector stations. It
will also provide interoperability with other Caltrans TMC's
in the event of disasters.