About Innovative Towing

This project reviews I-95 Coalition States’ innovative towing program practices, and provides Coalition Members an overview of Best Practices regarding contracted/regulatory/incentive based roadway towing programs and procedures. A scanning tour was conducted in coordination with FHWA and the Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA). The report documents lessons learned, innovative ideas, and general state-of-the-practice for towing and recovery as it relates to quick clearance of highway incidents in the United States.


Towing programs vary greatly in different regions depending on the needs of the region and legislation in place in the state. The towing survey gathered information from a wide range of transportation and law enforcement agencies as well as private towing providers throughout the country. The survey was followed by a scanning tour of leading agency locations to gain more in-depth knowledge of the program. Results from the survey and the scanning tour have been compiled into best practices and lessons learned from the programs surveyed.

The survey results show that many states and agencies place a priority on incident clearance from interstates, and have implemented legislation and various programs to improve response and clearance times. The programs are generally based on the goals of the prevailing agency and most state DOTs have economic goals and a mission to keep highway traffic moving. Any incident or other stopped vehicle will cause at least a minor delay and agencies strive to reduce delays as much as possible.

The scanning tour visited four sites within the I-95 corridor. The sites have varying missions and jurisdictions, and included three public agencies and one private tow company. The programs in place at each agency include agency-run and contracted freeway service patrol and towing services. The programs have unique characteristics in each jurisdiction, though they are equally successful. This shows that agencies cannot have a “one size fits all” approach to towing programs and must consider the needs of the region and mission of the agency.
The best practices and lessons learned full report is a compilation of findings from the survey, scanning tour, and from other sources. The results are organized by category and the measures provided should be considered when implementing or expanding a towing program.


1. A Technical Memorandum was produced which included the results of the survey and research pertaining to both Coalition and non-Coalition State innovative towing programs, including supporting documentation. This Memorandum was delivered in hard copy and electronic form to the Project Manager and Coalition Staff, and included a list of recommended Innovative Towing Program Scanning Tour sites.

2. Produced a comprehensive Innovative Towing Program Scanning Tour Plan, including proposed tour sites, itinerary, goals, and participants. The Plan was reviewed by the Project Manager and Coalition Staff, and the consultant then modified the Plan as instructed. A total of 40 copies of this Plan was delivered to Coalition Staff for distribution to pertinent Coalition Member Agencies. An electronic copy of the Plan was provided to the Project Manager and Coalition Staff.

3. Conducted the Innovative Towing Program Scanning Tour.

4. Provided a description of each Towing Program in the Final Report and MS Power Point Presentation, along with sample program documents, contracts and costs, and the point of contact name and associated contact information for each Member Agency’s Towing Program. The program descriptions included practical implementation requirements and identification of Best Practices when implementing the program. A total of 40 hard copies plus one electronic copy of the Final Report were delivered to Coalition Staff. This task also included research of non-Coalition Member Towing Programs to further identify innovative programs, and the same documentation and information as that gathered above pertaining to Coalition Member Agencies was included.