In Florida, the Road Ranger Service Patrol program saved over 1.7 million gallons of fuel by eliminating over one million vehicle-hours of delay in 2004.

A Benefit-cost Analysis for Florida's Road Ranger Service Patrol Program

November 2005
Statewide; Florida; United States

Summary Information

The Florida DOT Road Ranger program was implemented in 1999 to assist disabled vehicles along congested freeway segments and provided quick detection, verification, and removal of freeway incidents. In 2004, the Florida DOT sponsored a benefit cost analysis under the direction of the Center for Urban Transportation Research to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the program with respect to available funding.

At the time of the study, the program consisted of 88 vehicles and covered approximately 918 centerline miles of roadway. The coverage area included all FDOT districts (with the exception of District 3) and the Florida Turnpike. Districts 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. District 2 operated from 5:30 AM to 7:30 PM every day, and the Florida Turnpike operated from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM every day of the year.

Five districts and the Florida Turnpike provided program data and activity logs for the analysis. The data collected were input into the Freeway Service Patrol Evaluation (FSPE) model developed by the University of California to evaluate the benefits and costs of the program. The model assigned capacity reduction values (from the Highway Capacity Manual) to freeway segments based on the number of vehicle miles traveled on that segment.

After the model was calibrated, incident detection and response times were calculated with and without the influence of freeway service patrols. A deterministic queuing model was used to quantify the congestion related delay saving benefits. These benefits were then compared to program costs to establish benefit-to-cost ratios. The costs of the program were determined from contract costs for the Road Ranger program including, administrative, operation, maintenance, employee salaries, and overhead costs in each district.

The results of the analysis were positive. Reductions in incident delay and fuel consumption resulted in a net benefit. The overall benefit-to-cost ratio for the program was 25.8:1, with individual District benefit-to-cost ratios ranging from 2.3:1 to 41.5:1. The benefit-to-cost ratios for Districts 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7, and the Turnpike were approximately, 2:1, 21:1, 13:1, 42:1, 18:1, and 10:1, respectively.

The overall impacts of the Road Ranger program on delay and fuel savings are highlighted in the table below:

Delay Reduction
Delay Savings ($)Fuel Reduction (gallons)Fuel
Savings ($)
Benefits ($)
Costs ($)B-C Ratio


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Road Ranger Benefit Cost Analysis

Author: Hagen, Larry, Huaguo Zhou, and Harkanwal Singh

Correspondence with the report authors (Larry Hagen and Huaguo Zhou), July 2006.

Published By: Florida DOT

Prepared by the Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida for the Florida DOT

Source Date: November 2005

Other Reference Number: Report No. BD544-14



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Typical Deployment Locations



freeway service patrol, courtesy patrols, highway helpers, freeway service patrols

Benefit ID: 2007-00314