In Atlanta, satisfaction with motorist assistance patrols ranged from 93 to greater than 95 percent in two separate surveys of drivers who were already aware of the service.

Experience in Atlanta with Motorist Assistance Patrols

August 2006
Atlanta; Georgia; United States

Summary Information

The Georgia DOT Intelligent Transportation System, known as NaviGAtor, covers 140 freeway miles in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The NaviGAtor system includes a traffic management center (TMC), freeway management components, advanced traveler information systems, and an incident management program. TMC operators use vehicle detectors, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, dynamic message signs (DMS), and ramp meters to collect traffic data and manage incidents. When TMC operators identify an incident, they dispatch a Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) to provide motorist assistance or traffic control, and disseminate traveler information via DMS, the NaviGAtor web site (, and a telephone information service (*DOT or 404-635-8000).

The benefits of the NaviGAtor incident management program were determined during a before-and-after study that analyzed twelve months of data (i.e., May 2003 to April 2004) from incident logs. The "before" conditions were estimated by analyzing incident information when a HERO could not respond, analyzing incidents that occurred outside of the NaviGAtor coverage area, and using public safety dispatch logs and personnel surveys to predict incident timelines when no NaviGAtor resources were employed. By comparing "before" conditions with "after" conditions when NaviGAtor incident management strategies were utilized, the benefits were determined in four areas: safety, mobility, energy and environment, and productivity.


Customer satisfaction with the incident management program was assessed using a survey conducted in November 2002. The criteria used to select the pool of participants for the mail survey included residence in the 13-county metropolitan Atlanta area, having a valid driver’s license, driving on Atlanta freeways three or more times per week, and not being employed by GDOT. Eighty-four (84) percent of respondents were familiar with HEROs and 93 percent of those respondents thought that HEROs were useful. The survey indicated that 81 percent of respondents used DMS often and most found them to be useful. Respondents that used the telephone service thought it was very useful or somewhat useful. Users of the NaviGAtor website found it useful and most users indicated that they selected an alternate route based on information received from the site.

In a separate survey, when HEROs assisted motorists, they asked them to complete and return a postcard-sized survey at their convenience. A total of 537 survey cards were received from travelers who were assisted by HEROs. Seventy-nine (79) percent of motorists were assisted by a HERO in less than 20 minutes. Ninety-five (95) percent of these motorists rated the HERO service as excellent and five percent rated the service as good.

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Benefits Analysis for the Georgia Department of Transportation NaviGAtor Program: Final Report

Author: Guin, Angshuman, et al. (URS Corporation and Georgia DOT)

Published By: Georgia DOT

Prepared by URS Corporation for the Georgia DOT

Source Date: August 2006



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Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


DMS, CMS, VMS, Changeable Message Signs, Variable Message Signs, freeway service patrol, courtesy patrols, highway helpers, freeway service patrols

Benefit ID: 2007-00467