Call Boxes | Operate + Coordinate | Our Work

Call Boxes

Roadside call boxes provide an important service for motorists without cell phones, and in areas with unreliable cellular reception.

Our call boxes have digital cellular service with fully functioning TTY keyboards and screens to ensure there is access for those who are speech impaired.

Call Box, Freeway

Our network of roughly 600 call boxes, located mainly on the region's toll bridges and along rural highways in more remote parts of the area, allow you to report a road hazard, flat tire or mechanical breakdown.

Due to increased cell phone usage, many call boxes in the Bay Area's urban core have been removed in recent years. Instead, there are signs directing motorists to use the 511 Freeway Assist service.

Dial 511 for Freeway Assist

Freeway Assist connects cell phone users with operators from our Call Box answering center. No need to get out of your car!

Dial 511. Once you hear, “Welcome to the Bay Area’s 511,” say clearly Freeway Assist and then follow the instructions. You will be connected with an operator.

Get more info on the website. 511 Freeway Assist provides only non-emergency roadside assistance.

The call box network is a joint project of the MTC Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (MTC SAFE), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and the California Highway Patrol.

An average of 1,800 calls a month come through a private call answering center that can quickly dispatch assistance, provide translation services, or transfer calls to the CHP or Caltrans.

Visit Vital Signs: How much does traffic congestion affect your commute? Find out, and get more stats when you visit our website charting Bay Area transportation performance.