A Day in the Life Along the 91 Express Lanes

A Day in the Life Along the 91 Express Lanes


What do 15 people, 39 cameras, a 24-hour command center with a wall of TV monitors and a 10-mile stretch of road have in common? Together, they are the key components of Cofiroute USA’s dedicated toll road operations team overseeing the 91 Express Lanes to ensure our 35,000 daily drivers go safely on their way at all hours and under any circumstance.


The team and the technology are aligned to ensure a rapid response time to any incident on this fast-moving Southern California toll road. Our team members spot problems from the camera feed and dispatch help immediately, almost always arriving in five to seven minutes, often before the California Highway Patrol and other emergency vehicles.


Typical days (and nights!) for the Cofiroute team consist of responding to vehicle debris, wandering wildlife and stalled cars. Motorists zip along the free-flowing toll road at high speeds and don’t realize items have flown from their automobile, unintentionally creating hazardous conditions and potentially affecting other drivers. But not to fret. The toll road team is primed to move quickly and remove any hazard and do whatever it takes to help our motorists continue their trek safely.


And what about those unusual treasures often picked up by the Cofiroute team? Shreds from retread tires are the most common, with ladders a close second. Brooms, hubcaps, cabinets, chains, tools and – oddly enough – a store display are also in the mix. We can always tell when there has been a mattress sale by the amount of bedding that suddenly appears on the road, blown off car roofs and out of truck beds where the cargo hasn’t been properly secured.


Cofiroute team members in Electronic Tolling Traffic Management (ETTM) or Customer Service Specialists (CAS) are ready to roll at all times. ETTM work from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and are on call outside of operation hours, keeping their pagers and cell phones close by. Our Toll Operations Center (TOC) team works around the clock: 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (they’ve even recovered a few random Christmas trees during their watch, too!). Should there be a major problem with your vehicle, our specialists will tow your car away from the 91 Express Lanes to a safe area, usually at a nearby gas station or other place out of harm’s way on the freeway.


This leads to the Cofiroute USA’s top four tips for driving on the 91 Express Lanes. Traffic moves more rapidly here than on most other highways, so please consider these ideas:


  • Slow down – you are already driving the speed limit and beyond!
  • Travel in the inner-most lane when traffic is at its heaviest
  • Don’t follow a vehicle packed with items in the back – something might fall out, damage your car and even cause an accident
  • And if you are transporting anything, please make sure it is secure so you don’t become a hazard to other drivers


With 35,000 cars a day flying at high speeds through the 10-mile stretch, the Cofiroute team is constantly on the lookout for any dangerous situations that may arise. With Cofiroute watchdogs ready and willing to assist, drivers can rest assured they are in good hands. As we love to say whenever we receive a call from a stranded motorist: “We’re already on the way!”  


Posted by Bill Tidwell

Director of Operations


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