Motorists and community leaders alike understand the frustration and safety concerns associated with incidents on our freeways. In fact, for the last five years, Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research has reported traffic as the largest concern for Houston area residents, with good reason. On average, a Houston driver wastes 61 hours of time in traffic each year and consumes an extra 29 gallons of fuel, resulting in a congestion cost of nearly $1,500 per commuter.
Quick clearance of freeway breakdowns is an essential component of effective traffic management. It prevents secondary incidents, keeps traffic moving and, most importantly, saves lives. The Gulf Coast Regional Tow and Go Program was developed as an important solution to this urgent need. Now, when a vehicle traveling Houston’s camera-monitored freeways breaks down due to mechanical failure including out of gas, overheating, and flat tire, it is towed to a safe location at no cost.
Initially a collaboration of the City of Houston, Harris County, and representatives from the towing industry, the regional program is being implemented in incremental stages, expanding to Harris County and eventually to freeways in neighboring counties where camera coverage is available and as funding is allocated.
Because the likelihood of a secondary crash increases by nearly 3% each minute a breakdown or other hazardous vehicle incident remains on the freeway, safety is at the center of the Tow and Go program. A motorist whose vehicle breaks down on the freeway can call the number posted on TowAndGo.com or use the Houston TranStar app, once downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play. Law enforcement officers authorize every Tow and Go clearance from their location in the Houston TranStar traffic center where freeway-monitoring cameras allow them to view incidents in real time. The program’s tow operators, identified by the official Tow and Go logo on their badge and truck, will move the motorist and their vehicle to a safe location within one mile of the breakdown and even replace a flat tire if the necessary equipment and a working spare is available.
Since the program launched in May of 2018 to August 31, more than 10,000 vehicles qualified for no cost tows with an impressive average clearance time of 14 minutes.
Get to Know Tow and Go™
What: The Gulf Coast Regional Tow and Go Program provides motorists with no-cost towing when their vehicle breaks down from mechanical failure (e.g., out of gas, overheating, flat tire) in the main lanes, shoulder, ramp or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)/High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes of freeways in the Tow and Go service area.
Where: Currently, Tow and Go is available on camera-monitored freeways within the City of Houston and will expand next into Harris County, followed by neighboring counties where camera coverage is available and as funding is allocated. You can sign up to receive updates on the program’s expansion at TowAndGo.com.
How: Call Tow and Go at 713-881-3333, or after downloading the Houston TranStar app from the Apple store or Google Play, click on the tow truck at the top of the screen.
Who: Tow and Go is managed by the Houston-Galveston Area Council through funding provided by the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation
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