For decades, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (MTC SAFE) has provided a lifeline to Bay Area motorists by installing and maintaining a nine-county call box system. While the boxes have become a visual reminder of safety on the freeways, their use has continued to decline since the advent and popularity of the cell phone. MTC SAFE saw this change and responded with a cell phone call box service. By dialing 511 and speaking the words “Freeway Aid” you are immediately connected to the call answering center that handles the call box calls without leaving the safety of your vehicle.
If you are broken down, in a non-emergency situation and on the shoulder, please dial 511 and say “Freeway Aid.” Non-emergency situations include having a flat tire, dead battery, running out of gas, stalling, etc. Freeway Aid is like having a roadside call box on your cell phone.
How do I use Freeway Aid?
It’s easy to use! Dial 511 on your cellphone, once connected say “Freeway Aid”. The call with then be transferred to the current call answering center that answer roadside call boxes, which will then determine your location and provide the appropriate assistance for roadside service.
Who will help you?
- Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) will help you if you are stranded during peak commute hours (M-F 6am-10am and 3pm-7pm). FSP will provide free roadside assistance such as changing a tire, jump-starting a battery, or providing a free tow off the highway.
- Rotational Tow will aid motorists during non-commute hours. Standard rates will apply.
- Get stranded on a regional bridge or tunnel? The call will be dispatched to Caltrans.
511 Freeway Aid rapidly, links the three agencies together to deploy the appropriate roadside service(s) to get motorists help and moving again.
Download and print this informational brochure to keep in your glove compartment in case of an incident.
Freeway Aid was created due to the decreasing use of yellow roadside call boxes, and to ease congestion and non-emergency calls on 911. With 511 Freeway Aid,motorists on regional freeways can now rapidly access and summon non-emergency services, and decrease inappropriate 911 calls.
511 Freeway Aid only provides non-emergency roadside assistance. For information on when you should Dial 911, please visit the California Highway Patrol’s site for information.
For more information about 511 Freeway Aid, please visit the 511 website at 511.org.