The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) Program is a coordinated regional effort by Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Program provides assistance to motorists stranded on freeways in the event of minor accidents or disabled vehicles, and provides prompt clearance of traffic incidents. The Freeway Service Patrol helps prevent further loss of life and property by helping to eliminate potential secondary crashes and minimize the impact of freeway incidents on the flow of traffic through the urban areas. The FSP addresses most of the goals of the Freeway Incident Management System, a component of the region's Intelligent Transportation Systems Strategic Plan.

The objectives of the current program are to:

  1. Improve freeway safety by assisting motorists stranded due to disabled vehicles.
  2. Facilitate prompt removal of vehicles abandoned on freeway shoulders.
  3. Provide assistance to DPS officers at traffic incident scenes.
  4. Reduce secondary crashes by assisting in prompt clearance of minor incidents.
  5. Reduce road hazards by removal of debris on the roadway.

The program was first launched in 2000 by MAG, as a pilot project, utilizing $750,000 in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds received by the region for transportation system improvements. During the first two years, the program was closely monitored using service statistics and user feedback information gathered by DPS and compiled by project partner AAA Arizona. Due to the clear demonstration of benefits in improving safety on the freeway system, the program was incorporated in the 20-year Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) that was approved by voters in Maricopa County in November 2004. The FSP program is currently funded through the year 2026 with nearly $22 million in RTP funds. These funds support both FSP capital expenses as well as operating costs. New vehicles and additional personnel are funded, as needed, to provide FSP coverage on the regional freeway system.
FSP Operation, Coverage and Hours:

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By July of 2013, the FSP will have 11 vehicles and 11 operators. The program is expected to be expanded in Fiscal Year 2014 serving the 334 freeway miles within the MAG region.

Coverage: The entire freeway system in Maricopa County
Hours of Operation: Weekdays 6:30 – 9:00 AM &  3:00 – 6:00 PM
Weekends: As needed depending on weekend traffic generating events

Every year, about 10,000 assists are provided by the Freeway Service Patrol Program within MAG region. Table 1 shows the summary statistics for the last five years.

Table 1. Assists provided by FSP program from 2005 to 2012

  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Assist at Collision Scenes 637 605 541 443 267 384 331 337
Abandoned Vehicles Removed 1016 686 533 376 485 458 360 258
Number of Motorists Assist 9885 8593 11482 10327 9143 11172 10457 8910
Traffic Control Assignments 279 2063 3344 2963 2519 2004 2544 1892
Miles Driven 277599 306522 290495 426760 406631 411835 381473 326066

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Senior Program Manager - ITS and Safety
Sarath Joshua

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