Bay Area Call Box Program
According to Caltrans, unpredictable events such as stalled autos account for at least half of the congestion on highways.
The call box program provides 24 hour assistance to motorists in trouble, allowing them to report a road hazard, a flat tire or a mechanical breakdown. A private call answering center handles the calls and can quickly dispatch assistance to clear incidents that cause gridlock and smog.
The call box network is a joint project of the Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (SAFE), Caltrans, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP). MTC SAFE conducts the day-to-day operation, and CHP and Caltrans provide guidance. All nine Bay Area counties are members of the network: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.
Operations and Technology
The system of 2,200 call boxes is comprised of aluminum and Lexan digital cellular call boxes. All are equipped with fully functioning TTY keyboards and screens. TTY calls and voice calls are handled 24 hours a day by a private call answering center (CAC) in San Francisco. The call answering center operators can provide translation services and transfer call box calls to CHP or Caltrans, as appropriate. The standard aluminum call boxes are affixed to 14’ poles, solar powered, and have digital cellular service. The standard Lexan call boxes are installed on bridges, have AC power, digital cellular service and are hooked up to a data system that directly alerts Caltrans of bridge call boxes that are in use. Also built into all call boxes is a detection system that notifies the call box maintenance contractor if a unit is not functioning properly or has been vandalized.
How to Use a Call Box
Users who can hear:
Users who are deaf, hard of hearing, or cannot speak:
The call box network is spread throughout the nine member counties on 1,100+ miles of urban, suburban and rural highways and expressways, at three-quarter-mile to two-mile intervals. Spacing of call boxes is dependent on the geometrics of the roads.
The private call answering center answers an average of 1,800 calls a month. Since the programs inception, the call answering center has handled nearly 2.3 million call box calls. As part of an effort to improve response time and call quality, the call center strives to meet stringent level of service goals.
Call Box Projects
Several projects have been or will be implemented to improve call box service and provide greater accessibility.
Temporary Call Box Removal Request
Call boxes may be temporarily removed should they conflict with state highway or county road construction projects. Please fill out the request form (PDF) and fax or email to MTC SAFE no later than two weeks in advance of required removal. The same form is to be used to notify MTC SAFE of when construction project is complete and call boxes are ready to be reinstalled. MTC SAFE contractor will handle all removal and reinstallation work.
For more information on MTC's call box program, contact Sze Lei Leong at 510.817.5803 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Metropolitan Transportation Commission • 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California 94607
This page was last modified Tuesday May 08, 2012
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