The Freeway Service Patrol is a proven traffic congestion relief program that saves motorists time and money. It provides free emergency roadside service to motorists, keeps the freeways clear and prevents traffic from backing up and causing longer commute times, especially during peak rush hours. Less time on the road also means everyone saves on fuel costs and reduced emissions. It has been successfully implemented in many urban areas across the country such as Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Orange County, Florida, Maryland, New York and many others.
Studies show bottlenecks from stopped vehicles create a chain reaction, and can cause "secondary accidents" which create more traffic congestion and delays. Clearing the freeways keeps Hawai'i moving and everyone safe.
The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) program is operated by the State of Hawai`i Department of Transportation (DOT) in collaboration with the City and County of Honolulu's Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Transportation Services Departments.
The FSP provides free emergency roadside assistance to motorists who are stranded on the H-1, H-2 and H-201 Moanalua freeways and assist HPD at crash scenes by providing traffic control assistance. These services help keep freeways clear, preventing traffic backups and reducing the risk of secondary crashes caused by traffic congestion. Less time on the road also means savings on fuel costs and reduced emissions.
Freeway Service Patrol service was launched on June 17, 2009.
FSP services are available Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., except for the following holidays:
The Freeway Service Patrol covers approximately 29 miles of freeway in both directions, including a 22 mile stretch along the H-1 Freeway from Kunia Road to Ainakoa Avenue, a 4.8-mile stretch along the H-201 Moanalua Freeway, and 2.1 miles of the H-2 Freeway from the H-1/H-2 interchange to Ka Uka Boulevard.
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These sections were selected because they are areas with the highest traffic volumes and the greatest potential for stalled vehicles and/or incidents which would have an adverse impact on traffic congestion.
To take advantage of these free services, call 841-HELP (841-4357) to contact the Freeway Service Patrol between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for holidays. Watch for the Freeway Service Patrol name and Hawai`i's Department of Transportation seal on the trucks that will operate on the H-1, H-2 and Moanalua freeways.
The Freeway Service Patrol program works closely with the Honolulu Police Department. The HPD will respond to 911 distress calls when the Freeway Service Patrol is off-duty (see operating hours) or in locations outside of the FSP service areas.
The Freeway Service Patrol offers a variety of services to assist motorists with their stalled vehicles. These services include:
FSP operators gladly assist in attempting to get a vehicle started and back on the road. The objective is to increase safety for stranded motorists while allowing others to keep moving. Once the vehicle is off the freeway, motorists can utilize a private tow service, insurance company or other form of assistance.
Since FSP may be the first to respond, Operators are trained in first-aid and CPR. The services provided include:
No, FSP is not equipped to tow heavy vehicles. Also, if vehicles are involved in an accident, they will not be towed unless directed by the Honolulu Police Department.
In addition to being able to tow, all FSP trucks are equipped with push bumpers and Operators are trained to assist motorists in pushing their vehicle off of the road if they are located in a travel lane. Additional options are available for pulling vehicles to the side of the freeway, out of the lanes of traffic.
Motorists should call 841-HELP and know that FSP trucks are patrolling the freeway, so they will already be on the road and searching for stalled vehicles to help. In addition, all Freeway Service Patrol vehicles are monitored by a global positioning system (GPS) to gauge where they are and how they can be utilized.
Outside of the Freeway Service Patrol hours of operation and locations of service, the HPD will respond to calls for assistance at 911.
How does the GPS System Work?
The Hawai`i State Department of Transportation (DOT) uses advanced technology to monitor its trucks. Using a computer program called Track StarŪ, DOT is able to monitor each Freeway Service Patrol truck embedded with a GPS device. The locations and movements of all of the trucks in the fleet can be seen in real time.
The City & County of Honolulu's Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services Departments and its Department of Transportation Services, have been key in developing the program's operational procedures. The Honolulu Police Department plays a critical role in the process and developed procedures so that the Freeway Service Patrol will be properly contacted in the event of vehicle accidents.
HPD will respond to calls to 911 outside of the Freeway Service Patrol service area and hours of operation; and HFD and EMS will respond appropriately as needed.
The trucks were built specifically for the Freeway Service Patrol in Hawai`i and each tow truck costs about $88,000 to build and equip, with pickup trucks costing about $50,000 each. The FSP fleet of vehicles includes seven medium size tow trucks and three pick-up trucks with push bumpers and other special features on them.
Yes, these trucks are specially designed to remove stalled vehicles from the road quickly. In addition to a traditional tow with a hook, the seven Freeway Service Patrol tow trucks are equipped with push bumpers and, low-profile wheel lifts to tow vehicles quickly and efficiently, if necessary. The three pick-up trucks are capable of using push bumpers and if necessary, tow straps to pull vehicles out of the traffic lanes in order to move motorists to a safe location and, keep traffic moving.
All operators must take a rigorous training session of classroom and in-field instruction and then must pass a Freeway Service Patrol program proficiency test. Since the Freeway Service Patrol may often be the first on the scene, the operators receive extensive training on the mechanics of tow and dispatch operations, vehicle inspection and maintenance and basic car repair.
All Freeway Patrol Service operators have been trained in basic first-aid and CPR. They have also received specialized training in fire extinguishing and recognizing hazardous materials. The training also includes incident management response, safety precautions, and customer service. Last but not least, all operators must pass substance abuse training and are subject to random testing.
PROJECT COSTS AND OTHER INFORMATION
The program costs about $3 million annually with $2.7 million coming from the Federal Government and the remaining $300,000 from the Hawai`i State Department of Transportation. The trucks were built specifically for the Freeway Service Patrol in Hawai`i and each tow truck costs about $88,000 to build and equip, with pickup trucks costing about $50,000 each.
While this may seem like a lot, studies show that for every tax dollar spent on Freeway Service Patrol services, the public can realize a benefit-to-cost ratio of many times above the amount spent to fund the program. A recent study by the DOT calculated the average benefit-cost for the first two years of FSP service at just under 8:1. This means that for every dollar spent, motorists received about $8 in benefits. These benefits are measured in terms of reduction in delay, vehicle-hours, savings in fuel, and decreases in emissions. These ratios do not factor in the benefits associated with air quality improvement or collision reduction.
No. FSP drivers are not allowed to accept gratuities or tips at any time.
Already, the program has been expanded three times. As of July 1, 2013, the Freeway Service Patrol covers approximately 29 miles of freeway in both directions, including a 22 mile stretch along the H-1 Freeway from Kunia Road to Ainakoa Avenue, a 4.8-mile stretch along the H-201 Moanalua Freeway, and 2.1 miles of the H-2 Freeway from the H-1/H-2 interchange to Ka Uka Boulevard.
Motorists can help prevent their vehicles from having a breakdown on the freeway by taking some precautions and through regular maintenance.