CHART Traffic Incident Management
CHART Traffic Incident Management
The Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART) Emergency Patrols operate in partnership with the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), and the Maryland State Police (MSP). The Emergency Patrols also assist all allied law enforcement agencies and fire/rescue departments in the State of Maryland.
Although most citizens associate the “big yellow trucks with the State Farm decal on the side” with motorist assistance, the primary function of the CHART Emergency Patrols is Traffic Incident Management. CHART, through best nationally recognized practices supports the National Unified Goal by enhancing responder safety, coordinating the quick clearance of Maryland’s travel lanes, improving interagency communications, and reducing secondary crashes all in an effort to keep motorists safer and to keep Maryland moving forward on our roadways!
Emergency Traffic Patrols (ETP) have been helping broken-down motorists and assisting police at incidents along Maryland’s interstates and highways since the early to mid 1980s. As traffic congestion and delays along US 50 to and from the Eastern Shore area stretched for miles and miles, SHA began a partnership with the Maryland State Police and opened the first Traffic Operations Center in Maryland – the Eastern Shore Traffic Operations (ESTO) Center, also known as Reach the Beach. The goal was to detect and respond to incidents that added to the already massive delays along US 50 between the Annapolis area and Ocean City.
CHART Emergency Patrol Routes
The Emergency Patrols operate 24/7 in the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan Area and from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Western Region (Washington and Frederick Counties, and western Carroll and Howard Counties). The Emergency Response Technicians (ERTs) are on call to assist managing incidents any time. CHART operates 43 Emergency Patrol vehicles covering more than 2,000 lane miles of Maryland highways. Although they have assigned patrol routes, the ERTs are available to assist with traffic incidents anywhere they are needed in the State.
Quick facts about the CHART Emergency Patrols
- CHART ERTs assist a motorist every 14 minutes (average). That’s more than 37,400 motorist assists every year.
- CHART ERTs manages traffic at a crash/incident once every 22 minutes.
- This prevents an estimated 225-250 secondary crashes each year.
- This also saves drivers approximately $1 billion annually in fuel and delay costs.
- CHART has reduced major incident duration by as much as 40 to 50 percent in the past decade.
Whether directing traffic at a crash or other incident, or changing a flat tire for a motorist, or giving directions to someone who is lost, CHART Emergency Response Technicians have a very dangerous job performing these tasks in such close proximity to traffic. But it is very rewarding to know that these actions help to keep Maryland drivers moving forward.
Sponsorship by State Farm ®
In 2011, SHA entered into an innovative sponsorship by State Farm Insurance to expand the Emergency Traffic Patrol fleet.
Additional funding was made available to SHA as a result of the initial three-year sponsorhip and has primarily been used to maintain and operate two additional patrol trucks and two additional drivers. Additionally, State Farm funding has provided safety equipment, brochures with comment cards and signage along Maryland’s interstates promoting the sponsorship.
As a result of an additional expansion of the ETP’s in the summer of 2014, the 43 ETP’s work shifts around the clock in the Baltimore and Washington areas, now covering more than 350 miles of interstates and primary highways throughout Maryland. For more information about State Farm ETP sponsorships both in Maryland and across the US, go to www.assistpatrol.com
CHART Emergency Patrol Vehicles
The three types of vehicles used include heavy-duty utility body trucks, tow trucks, and Custom Response Vehicles (CRVs). All are 4-wheel drive. Although each truck carries similar equipment such as vehicle relocation equipment, chainsaws, debris clearing equipment, and a multitude of warning devices, each specific type of vehicle has its own mission. For example, all of the trucks have arrow boards except that the CRVs have a programmable message board that can provide specific directions to motorists. CRVs are also equipped with a generator and floodlights that are often requested to assist with crash investigations at night. All of the trucks are registered emergency vehicles and are equipped with the appropriate red flashing lights and sirens to get through slowed or stopped traffic.
CHART Emergency Response Technicians in Action
ERTs remain the heart and soul of the CHART program:
“On my way to Baltimore on I-70 my engine had issues and I pulled to the shoulder. All of a sudden I saw the SHA yellow truck with lights. Please tell Steve - Thank You Thank You Thank you. He was my Guardian Angel that day.”
“I was visiting my daughter’s family in northern Virginia and my rear tire blew. I pulled over on I-95 near Branch Avenue when Mr. Johnson showed up. He explained who he worked for and was calm, polite and very efficient. I am grateful to SHA for this service and believe he was nothing less than a Godsend.”
"My first day back from vacation and I get a flat tire. I was scared! Joe was a blessing. He changed my tire in record time. He was nice, professional and comforting. Thanks SHA and State Farm for this service.”
“I was stranded in the travel lane with a blowout tire on I-695 near Liberty Road. It was 11 p.m. and a dangerous situation. Mr. King arrived promptly, pushed me to the shoulder and used his tools to change my tire and get me out of a scary spot. What a great service and thanks SHA.”
“I merged onto MD 295 from I-95 and got a flat tire. I called for roadside assistance and no one showed up. Wesley from SHA pulled up, asked if I needed help, changed my tire and got me on my way in no time at all. Great customer service and thanks SHA.”
“After a long day at work I broke down right on the American Legion Bridge. Eric from CHART showed up and helped me to the shoulder and changed my tire. I was so thankful he came by. T hank you for a great program.”
“I ran out of gas on I-70 in Frederick and had my 10 month-old in the car. I had waited a while for my roadside service when Kim from SHA CHART showed up. She was friendly, professional and my HERO! She wouldn’t accept a tip – just a huge thank you from me.”
“I got a flat tire on the US 50 Severn River Bridge near Annapolis. I was wondering how I could get home safely when Chris showed up. He put on the spare and we were on our way in no time.”
“I was traveling from New York to Annapolis my engine light went on in my Subaru. Within minutes your driver Paul showed up. He helped by calling a local Subaru dealer and we got it resolved. He was polite, courteous and helpful.”
“After a very long flight I was leaving BWI and got a flat tire. Don was there before I realized. He was fantastic! A life saver. The kind of professional experience needed after a long week.”
“I got a flat tire on US 50 after coming off of the Bay Bridge. Dave in his big yellow truck showed up to fix our flat. My whole family is thankful for his assistance.”
2015 CHART Emergency Response Technician of the Year
ERT Senior, Bryan Walker
Maryland State Highway Administration
Emergency Response Technician Senior, Bryan Walker began his career with the Maryland State
Highway Administration in 2004 before his selection and entry into the CHART in 2008. Bryan is a
dedicated employee who executes his job with remarkable dedication that only furthers the mission of the
CHART program. Bryan is a role model for his peers and his interpersonal skills and personality allow
co-workers to interact with him with ease.
Bryan consistently puts safety at the forefront of his daily duties. He insures that his safety and
the safety of all he works around is paramount. This became evident when in the winter of 2015, a
vehicle skidded out of control prior to an accident scene in which he had responded. A passenger vehicle
traveling too fast for conditions in a snow storm, skidded out of control striking the rear of his assigned
tow truck. If it were not for the proper positioning of his truck and the proper advanced warning, the
troopers, emergency responders and victims at the accident scene may have been struck. As a result of
his efforts, the SHA departmental accident resulted only in property damage instead of injury or even
potential loss of life.
This one example mentioned above only highlight’s the routine daily conduct of Bryan Walker as he carries out his duties as a dedicated Emergency Response Technician. Also in 2015, Bryan Walker sustained a severe on duty injury requiring surgery and a lengthy recovery. This event, however, did not diminish his drive and commitment as he returned to duty and still managed to assist over 485 motorists and handle 299 incidents in 2015