One year in, TxDOT says HERO program is making a difference on San Antonio highways

Crews respond to minor highway incidents in order to clear roads faster

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to help fund TxDOT’s Highway Emergency Response Operation (HERO) program.

Commissioners heard a presentation on HERO’s operations and impact over the past year. They approved providing $550,000 in funding for the program.

TxDOT cited a study from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute that estimated HERO’s response to incidents had prevented 95 secondary crashes, saving more than $7 million.

“The reason we track secondary crashes is fewer crashes equals less congestion on our roadway, less pollution, less travel time delay for the motoring public,” said John Gianotti, operations manager for San Antonio TransGuide.

Gianotti told commissioners that HERO is meeting its target of clearing stalled, abandoned or disabled vehicles within 20 minutes, doing so at an average of 16 minutes.

The program was approved by the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization after officials examined a similar program in Houston in 2017. HERO crews first deployed in San Antonio in August 2020. The City of San Antonio is also partnering with TxDOT to help fund the operation.

HERO crews patrol several major highways in the area from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, with some service nights and weekends. People can also call the hotline at (210) 732-HERO (4376) for assistance.

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About the Author:

Samuel King anchors traffic during GMSA and reports on transportation and mobility issues across the San Antonio region. He joined the KSAT 12 news team in 2020 from KUT in Austin. Samuel was born in Queens, spent time growing up in South Alabama and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.