Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Disappointing SLUT | Playboy Funnies »

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Eliminating Left-Hand Turns Saves UPS Three Million Gallons of Gas

posted by on December 12 at 14:10 PM

True. (Via NYT.)

The company employs what it calls a “package flow” software program, which among other hyperefficient practices involving the packing and sorting of its cargo, maps out routes for every one of its drivers, drastically reducing the number of left-hand turns they make (taking into consideration, of course, those instances where not to make the left-hand turn would result in a ridiculously circuitous route).

Last year, according to Heather Robinson, a U.P.S. spokeswoman, the software helped the company shave 28.5 million miles off its delivery routes, which has resulted in savings of roughly three million gallons of gas and has reduced CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons. So what can Brown do for you? We can’t speak to how good or bad they are in the parcel-delivery world, but they won’t be clogging up the left-hand lane while they do their business.

(Click here for full story, thanks to Matt Hickey for the link.)

RSS icon Comments


UPS has bizzare economy of scale issues

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 12, 2007 2:12 PM

Very true.

It also reduces accidents.

The reality is that waiting to make a left hand turn takes more gas than going around a block using right hand turns.

And the right hand turns decrease your risk factor as well.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 2:14 PM

Kudos to UPS for running optimization algorithms. And the fact that they add a left-hand-turn penalty is a nice conversation piece. But at no point does this article assert, as Megan's headline does, that the entire 3MG fuel savings is due to the left-hand-turn penalty.

Based on nothing more than my crumudgeonly instincts, I'd bet money that the overwhelmling majority of the savings is due to other factors. That is to say, if you re-ran the algorithm without the left-hand-turn penalty, it would still save considerably more than 1.5MG of fuel.

Posted by David Wright | December 12, 2007 2:24 PM

Only suckers wait for left hand turns. Suckers who also most likely don't carry the awesomeness to drink and drive.


Posted by Mr. Poe | December 12, 2007 2:27 PM

My buses certainly don't wait for pedestrians to get out of the way before right hand turns

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 12, 2007 2:35 PM

Besides his red dresses, another habit of J. Edgar Hoover was a superstistion that led him to avoid left turns. His former driver wrote a book about Hoover called "No Left Turns"
UPS, FBI..hmmmm.

Posted by Tolson | December 12, 2007 2:48 PM

At some point as my grandmother got older she simply refused to make left hand turns anymore. She figured out how to get where she was going by making right hand turns. And Hammond, IN, was safer for it.

Posted by Michigan Matt | December 12, 2007 2:58 PM

Wish they would run this in cities like mine that cone off streets at rush hour and won't allow you to make lefts. I think they actually make traffic worse, because it forces you to drive more to get where you're going, when making a left is the most direct way.

Posted by Dianna | December 12, 2007 3:10 PM

The blond UPS guy who does deliveries in north Seattle is hot hot hot, I tell you, hot.

Posted by Fire F. Ly | December 12, 2007 3:32 PM

9 - he may or may not be hot, but he sure is dumb. leaving my wii-wii in the driveway to get rained on? not cool. Plus, I'll bet he's making a left turn, right now.

Posted by wbrproductions | December 12, 2007 4:07 PM

Getting hit on the front left is also the #1 way motorcyclists get killed, either when they turn left, or cars turn left in front of their bike. Better to do a jug handle.

Bicyclists too, not that I give a damn. Smug bastards.

Posted by elenchos | December 12, 2007 4:25 PM

Cool. I wonder if Google maps and GPS systems will do this too, if it would save CO2 emissions.

Posted by ayarkay | December 13, 2007 6:59 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).