The Incident Response Service (IRS) clears disruptions and congestion on Melbourne’s freeways, highways and arterial roads
IRS officers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, proactively patrolling Melbourne’s road network, checking and clearing everything from broken down vehicles and major traffic incidents to debris from fallen loads, to stray wildlife.
As well as physically clearing roads and attending to incidents, the teams provide calm and compassionate assistance to people parked on the roadside who may have a health issue or have broken down. Our officers are able to check on their welfare and, if needed, ensure they move to a safer location.
All staff are fully trained in first aid, including CPR.
Whilst 70 per cent of incidents result from what the IRS officers discover during patrol, they also work closely with the Transport Operations Centre , which is monitoring the road network 24/7. The TOC can dispatch officers, liaise with other agencies and impose speed restrictions and lane closures to protect the IRS officers onsite.
With the Smarter Roads program adding an extra 12 on-road officers to the team (bringing the total 32 officers), and six new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans (increasing the fleet to 14), the IRS can patrol more of our road network more often. The new Smarter Roads officers focus on arterial roads in the west, east and south east of Melbourne, working to ease congestion and keep road users and themselves safe.
Since January 2020, our IRS officers have responded to more than 100,000 incidents, at an average of 90 incidents per day across metropolitan Melbourne, typically responding within 5 minutes of being alerted.
About a quarter of incidents occur on arterial roads and they mainly involve vehicle breakdowns.
The new Smarter Roads vans are filled with an array of tools and equipment so our officers can handle almost any situation.
This includes traffic cones, brooms, shovels, crow bars, absorbent sand for spills, a trolley jack and wheel brace for tire changes, towing straps, bow saw, chainsaw, jump start pack and leads together with extra fuel for motorists stranded with an empty tank.
Two-way radios and live-feed cameras mounted to the front and rear of the vehicles are used to provide the TOC with real-time incident information as well as providing additional safety controls for officers.
Every day is different for the Incident Response Service. Helping motorists is hugely rewarding for our officers and the service contributes to keeping Melbourne’s traffic flowing as smoothly as possible.