Skip Top Navigation

Research Reports

Evaluation of the Service Patrol Program in the Puget Sound Region

Description: The Service Patrol pilot demonstration in Seattle and Tacoma was managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and operated by Washington State Patrol (WSP) cadets and contracted registered tow truck operators (RTTOs). Two other roving services, not funded as part of this pilot effort but included to a limited extent in this evaluation, were the roving patrol service provided by WSDOT on the SR 520 and I-90 floating bridges and the privately sponsored motor assistance vehicle from AAA's Rescue Van.
The evaluation examines how the similarities and differences among the different service delivery modes (e.g., the intensity of deployment, equipment choices, service delivery, costs) affect the impact of the Service Patrol operation on traffic conditions (e.g., reductions in delay) and the level of motorist satisfaction. This report also discusses feedback by the agencies participating in the Service Patrol program on institutional and operational issues that contribute to or hinder the success of the program. Operational characteristics and operating statistics are reported to convey factors that describe program effectiveness.

The results of the study indicate that the use of a combination of service providers has benefits that no single provider can duplicate, and the cost implications of changing the program are small enough that any potential savings would be fairly minor. The pilot project resulted in a variety of intangible benefits, such as improved interagency coordination and cooperation, more efficient utilization of personnel, and a better understanding of each partner's roles and contributions toward congestion relief. The positive viewpoint toward the Service Patrol was uniform, regardless the service mode. Therefore, no significant changes to the existing pilot program are recommended at this time.

  • Date Published: September, 2001
  • Publication Number: WA-RD 518.1
  • Last Modified: May 7, 2007
  • Authors: Jennifer Nee, Mark E. Hallenbeck.
  • Originator: Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
  • # of Pages: 71 p., 957 KB (PDF)
  • Subject: Cooperation, Coordination, Demonstration projects, Incident management, Institutional issues, Interagency relations, Motorist aid systems, Police patrol, Police traffic services, Towing vehicles, Traffic accidents.
  • Keywords: Service patrols, incident response time, Puget Sound Region, Seattle, Tacoma, traffic delay, traffic safety.
  • Related Publications: Evaluation of the Instant Tow Dispatch Pilot Program in the Tacoma Area (A Supplement to the Evaluation of the Service Patrol Program in the Puget Sound Region), (WA-RD 518.2).

This abstract was last modified April 29, 2008