Freeway Service Patrol
Bay Area Freeway Service Patrol (FSP)
The Bay Area Freeway Service Patrol is a fleet of roving tow trucks deployed during peak travel times (typically, 6-10am and 3-7pm) as part of an incident management program to detect and clear accidents, assist motorists and remove dangerous debris from freeways — together, the causes of more than 50 percent of traffic congestion. 85 tow and service trucks, equipped for nearly any contingency, patrol 540 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 California Highway Patrol. The Freeway Service Patrol is free at the time of service, funded through the state highway fund and supplemented by the SAFE motorist aid driver registration fee.
FSP drivers, who are trained and certified by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), are frequently the first to arrive at accident scenes or to find stranded motorists. In 2009, the program logged over 125,000 incidents, 53 percent of which involved motorists. The impact of the FSP is enormous: during the 2007-08 fiscal year alone, FSP trucks saved Bay Area motorists an estimated 3.9 million hours of delay time, reducing fuel use by 2.6 million gallons and reducing tailpipe emissions of CO (Carbon Oxides) by 530 tons, and NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) by 113 tons.
Organization & Partner Agencies
The Bay Area FSP is a joint project of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (MTC SAFE), the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The service is provided by private tow truck companies, selected through a competitive bid process, under contract to MTC SAFE. During the hours of operation, the vehicles and drivers are exclusively dedicated to patrolling their freeway beat.
What service should I expect?
FSP drivers wear blue uniforms with reflective piping, and ride in white trucks with the FSP logo on the side, looking for stranded motorists and offering help by changing a flat tire, "jump starting" a dead battery, refilling a radiator or providing a gallon of fuel. If the FSP operator cannot get the vehicle to start, it is towed off the freeway to the nearest CHP-identified safe location. All of this is free of charge to the motorist. Tow truck drivers may not provide commercial services, and are not allowed to accept tips. Drivers distribute informational brochures about the program along with a survey card.
Automated Data Collection and Communication System
A key feature of the San Francisco Bay Area FSP program is a state-of-the-art, computerized communications/automatic vehicle location system that makes surveillance and management of the 85-truck fleet more efficient. Using the latest technology, this system allows communication between CHP dispatchers and on-the-scene tow trucks. This, in turn, ensures that the nearest available truck is dispatched to quickly clear freeway lanes and help motorists with disabled vehicles. The system also allows the partner agencies to closely supervise tow truck drivers, validate invoices and compile statistics to evaluate the performance of the program.
For more information on the Bay Area Freeway Service Patrol, including photographs, awards, statistics and Contractor information, please visit:
FSP Coverage Area
Metropolitan Transportation Commission • 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California 94607
This page was last modified Tuesday August 23, 2011
© 2013 MTC