An Evaluation of the Alabama Service and Assistance Patrol with Respect to Mobility-Related Benefits
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Freeway Service Patrols are one of the more commonly used incident management tools employed to reduce non-recurring congestion through quick response to accidents and other incidents along congested freeway segments. Patrol vehicles are often used to push stalled cars, or accident vehicles not involving injuries onto the shoulder to quickly restore capacity to the roadway. They are also capable of helping stranded motorists with services such as: changing a flat tire, giving a weak battery a jump, adding engine fluids, providing gasoline, and assisting with minor repairs. These actions benefit not only the stranded motorist, but all travelers by reducing their overall travel time as a result of the patrol reducing the duration of the incident. This thesis presents and applies a methodology to examine and evaluate the mobility-related benefits of the Alabama Service and Assistance Patrol (ASAP) against its operating costs in Birmingham, Alabama. This methodology addresses the process of estimating the reduced incident delay due to the ASAP program using the simulation model CORSIM. Sixteen separate simulation models were constructed and simulated to estimate the amount of delay saved due to ASAP for varying locations and types of incidents. The mobility benefit-cost ratio of the ASAP program is estimated to be approximately 23.5:1.