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Why UPS Trucks Don't Turn Left
Priceonomics ^ | 4-4-14 | Alex Mayyasi

Posted on 04/06/2014 7:26:42 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic

In 2004, UPS announced a new policy for its drivers: the right way to get to any destination was to avoid left-hand turns. Even if that means following this route that a UPS driver described to an incredulous press member:

"We're gonna make a right turn onto 135th to Western. We'll make another right on Western down to 139th. Righ turn on 139th and go down to the end of the block and we'll make another right turn."

When better tracking systems emerged in 2001, the package delivery service took a closer look at how trucks performed when delivering packages. As a logistics company with some 96,000 trucks and several hundred aircraft, much of UPS's business can be distilled to a series of optimization problems around reducing the amount of fuel used, saving time, and using space more efficiently. (Trucks in UPS facilities park just a few inches apart with their side mirrors overlapping to save space.)

UPS engineers found that left-hand turns were a major drag on efficiency. Turning against traffic resulted in long waits in left-hand turn lanes that wasted time and fuel, and it also led to a disproportionate number of accidents. By mapping out routes that involved "a series of right-hand loops," UPS improved profits and safety while touting their catchy, environmentally friendly policy. As of 2012, the right turn rule combined with other improvements -- for the wow factor, UPS doesn't separate them out -- saved around 10 million gallons of gas and reduced emissions by the equivalent of taking 5,300 cars of the road for a year.

Describing the policy in a speech, the CEO of UPS told his audience, "I can see a few of you smiling out there, and I know what you may be thinking. But it really works."

If you don't believe it, well, that's why Mythbusters exists. The program sent a truck out to deliver packages following a normal route and a left turn hating UPS route. They found the UPS approach saved gas but took a bit longer:

Mythbusters likely failed to save time on the route by following the rule even more stringently than UPS. While the no left turn rule has an appealingly simple and algorithmic quality to it, you will see UPS drivers take left turns on occasion, especially in residential neighborhoods without much incoming traffic. Asked how often UPS drivers turn right, a driver told ABC:

"A guesstimate, I would probably say 90%. I mean we really, really hate left turns at UPS."

Since UPS uses software to map out routes, it can send drivers on right turn heavy routes while making exceptions when a left turn is easier and faster. As an amicable senior VP of the company said in an interview about the rule, "That's why I love the engineers, they just love to continue to figure out how to make it better."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: delivery; lefthandturns; time; traffic; ups
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Video at source.


1 posted on 04/06/2014 7:26:42 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

This is why you never see a UPS truck in a NASCAR race.


2 posted on 04/06/2014 7:29:38 AM PDT by wonkowasright (Wonko from outside the asylum)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

FedEx had, as part of their safe driving guidelines, a recommendation to avoid left turns whenever possible. (In the interest of disclosure, I worked for them many years ago - early 80s to early 90s. That’s how I know this.)

It’s true that many accidents occur as a result of someone making a left turn. It’s a metaphor for politics, too!


3 posted on 04/06/2014 7:30:37 AM PDT by Disambiguator
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To: afraidfortherepublic
left-hand turns were a major drag on efficiency.

Now, if only our country could learn the same thing.

4 posted on 04/06/2014 7:30:47 AM PDT by PapaNew
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I’m left handed and I turned out all right.


5 posted on 04/06/2014 7:31:36 AM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: PapaNew

Bump!


6 posted on 04/06/2014 7:32:58 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic; JoeProBono; dfwgator
In 2004, UPS announced a new policy for its drivers: the right way to get to any destination was to avoid left-hand turns.

ambiturner zoolander
"Derek, that's nothing to be ashamed of. I'm sure there are lots of people out there who can't...turn....I mean there have gotta be some people out there, just like you, who can't...turn...turn...left."

7 posted on 04/06/2014 7:33:48 AM PDT by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: PapaNew

Watch out, the CEO will be fired.


8 posted on 04/06/2014 7:33:49 AM PDT by Scrambler Bob (You can count my felonies by looking at my FR replies.)
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To: wonkowasright

9 posted on 04/06/2014 7:35:48 AM PDT by nascarnation (Toxic Baraq Syndrome: hopefully infecting a Dem candidate near you)
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To: Disambiguator

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/3141404/posts


10 posted on 04/06/2014 7:36:38 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I live on a dead end street and have a whole colony of UPS drivers living down here. I think they’ve gone feral and ate a FedEx driver who wandered in among them.


11 posted on 04/06/2014 7:39:21 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

This is not new news.... Almost all delivery type companies like beer, soft drink, etc use programs like “road net” to sequence deliveries in the most efficient way possible.....

I used one for years and yes you do get some very weird looking routes....also depends on the information programmed into it....

As with any computer program.... Garbage in garbage out...


12 posted on 04/06/2014 7:40:35 AM PDT by Popman ("Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God" - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: cripplecreek

LOL Teamsters eating non-union workers eh?


13 posted on 04/06/2014 7:40:37 AM PDT by nascarnation (Toxic Baraq Syndrome: hopefully infecting a Dem candidate near you)
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To: Popman

I’m sure some day when “big gov” has implemented full vehicle controls, you will punch in your destination and “big gov” will offer up the “allowable” route.


14 posted on 04/06/2014 7:42:04 AM PDT by nascarnation (Toxic Baraq Syndrome: hopefully infecting a Dem candidate near you)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I avoid left turns whenever convenient. I implemented the same rule informally, mostly to avoid potentially dangerous situations. I nearly always avoid dangerous intersections when it makes sense.


15 posted on 04/06/2014 7:42:21 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (This is known as "bad luck". - Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I knew a lady UPS driver that really knew how to do “a series of right-hand loops”,


16 posted on 04/06/2014 7:42:38 AM PDT by bunkerhill7 ("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione.")
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Based on my local experience, their job adverts must read:
“NOW HIRING: World’s Most Aggressive and Obnoxious Drivers. Must be willing to cut off anybody at any time. Blemished driving record? No problem.”


17 posted on 04/06/2014 7:43:34 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Avoiding left turns has been official FedEx policy since 1978.


18 posted on 04/06/2014 7:45:02 AM PDT by cookcounty (IRS = Internal Revenge Service.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

They will turn left, but it is very rare.


19 posted on 04/06/2014 7:46:40 AM PDT by matt04
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To: afraidfortherepublic
What the article doesn't mention is that avoiding most left turns doesn't just save time and fuel. For a company like UPS, the additional predictability of travel time along a route is probably more valuable than the time and fuel they might save.
20 posted on 04/06/2014 7:49:46 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("I've never seen such a conclave of minstrels in my life.")
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To: Alex Murphy

My first thought as well.


21 posted on 04/06/2014 7:52:05 AM PDT by Nevadan
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To: cripplecreek

Having to do the “Michigan left” turn must drive the UPS drivers nuts.


22 posted on 04/06/2014 7:52:53 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Well not only for safety but also as a symbolic gesture you don’t want to give liberals any ideas that because you turn left you support their murderous, Marxist, Fascist, commie, Islamo terror supporting, socialist, criminal supporting butts, sodomy loving butts. So going right is always right.


23 posted on 04/06/2014 7:52:59 AM PDT by GrandJediMasterYoda (Republican has "I can" at the end. Democrat has "rat". Any questions?)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I drive a small SUV and I avoid left turns unless there is a traffic light. Rights are easier, by far.


24 posted on 04/06/2014 7:53:06 AM PDT by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: afraidfortherepublic

What’s their policy on u-turns?


25 posted on 04/06/2014 7:54:05 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Disambiguator

What about left-hand turns from dedicated lanes with arrows? They’re quite safe, I’d think.


26 posted on 04/06/2014 7:56:38 AM PDT by grania
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To: nascarnation

:)


27 posted on 04/06/2014 7:57:45 AM PDT by wonkowasright (Wonko from outside the asylum)
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To: Moonman62

They are required to be done in pairs.


28 posted on 04/06/2014 8:01:24 AM PDT by wonkowasright (Wonko from outside the asylum)
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To: grania

Those are ok, but it’s uncontrolled situations that are dangerous.


29 posted on 04/06/2014 8:01:25 AM PDT by Disambiguator
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To: wonkowasright
This is why you never see a UPS truck in a NASCAR race.

Ha! Thank you ;)
30 posted on 04/06/2014 8:01:48 AM PDT by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: Moonman62

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the ‘U-turn’, I have only one thing to say: ‘You turn [U-turn] if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.’ — Thatcher


31 posted on 04/06/2014 8:01:53 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: PapaNew
Now, if only our country could learn the same thing.

Come to New Jersey. With the Jug handles you can't make a left in New Jersey without making a right first.

And yes, they are great. I don't miss left turn signals at all

32 posted on 04/06/2014 8:06:47 AM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: grania
What about left-hand turns from dedicated lanes with arrows?

They avoid them to eliminate flat tires.


33 posted on 04/06/2014 8:07:55 AM PDT by Focault's Pendulum (I live in NJ....' Nuff said!)
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To: Focault's Pendulum

THAT WAS FUNNY !!


34 posted on 04/06/2014 8:08:50 AM PDT by grania
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Every good Turk walks to the right.


35 posted on 04/06/2014 8:09:45 AM PDT by Hoodat (Democrats - Opposing Equal Protection since 1828)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
"...saved around 10 million gallons of gas"

Now we can't have that. That's a $2 million "loss" for the Federal Government. That is $2 MILLION that UPS stole from the poor and helpless chil'run who will wake up tomorrow morning and face another day without a warm cafeteria breakfast... Well, I guess we'll just have to make right hand turns illegal and jack up delivery fee taxes. THAT will show'em!

36 posted on 04/06/2014 8:10:30 AM PDT by Hatteras
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To: afraidfortherepublic

They are precise about their routes. I gotta give ‘em that. I missed a very important signature-required delivery once. I called UPS to ask if I could go to the driver’s hub at the end of his shift to get the package. They radioed the driver and told me to meet him at the corner of such-and-such streets at 6:03. They cautioned me not to be 30 seconds late because he’d leave. I was early. He rolled up on the DOT at 6:03:01.


37 posted on 04/06/2014 8:11:38 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind. ~Steve Earle)
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To: qam1
Come to New Jersey. With the Jug handles you can't make a left in New Jersey without making a right first

Don't forget our ultra safe traffic circles.

I've been rear ended twice

38 posted on 04/06/2014 8:13:00 AM PDT by Focault's Pendulum (I live in NJ....' Nuff said!)
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To: Disambiguator
It's a metaphor for politics, too."

Clever observation!

39 posted on 04/06/2014 8:15:40 AM PDT by OldPossum ("It's" is the contraction of "it" and "is"; think about ITS implications.)
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To: Alex Murphy


40 posted on 04/06/2014 8:15:46 AM PDT by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Except in the countries with left-hand traffic, where I assume the routes favor left-hand turns.


41 posted on 04/06/2014 8:16:08 AM PDT by Leroy S. Mort ("Don't say sh*t unless you know for sure it helps." - Raylan Givens)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

LOL, my mother and sister avoid left hand turns at all cost. Mom started driving in 1965.


42 posted on 04/06/2014 8:17:07 AM PDT by huldah1776
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To: andyk; wonkowasright
~~A-Hem!~~


43 posted on 04/06/2014 8:17:15 AM PDT by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Heck, everyone who lived in California when I lived there knew the same thing - especially in Los Angeles where they still have very few sissy lights (i.e., left turn arrows). You may have to wait several cycles to make your turn.


44 posted on 04/06/2014 8:19:19 AM PDT by BobL
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To: shibumi

Ford Fusion ‘tis not a truck.... but see post #9..... :)


45 posted on 04/06/2014 8:19:55 AM PDT by wonkowasright (Wonko from outside the asylum)
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To: Disambiguator

I can’t tell you how many times I see some dipwad in a car trying to make a left turn across traffic with a left hand turn lane from a gas station, etc. on the corner that also has an exit on the cross street where either a left-left turn (with signal) or three quick rights could save them time. Yet they just sit there demanding a dumbass left turn.


46 posted on 04/06/2014 8:21:46 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: bunkerhill7

There’s a reason they have jug ear loops in New Jersey.


47 posted on 04/06/2014 8:22:43 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: nascarnation
I’m sure some day when “big gov” has implemented full vehicle controls, you will punch in your destination and “big gov” will offer up the “allowable” route.

Oh' you are thinking much too small..

Big Gov won't be so blatant as to offer up an “allowable” route.

When the "OMVCA" ( Obama Motor vehicle Control Act) goes into effect, you will be offered a menu of options when you try and turn your car on:

Key or speak in your destination
Option 1. Walk or ride bike to destination: Earn 100 carbon credits
Option 2. Take pubic transportation: Earn 50 carbon credits
Option 3. Drive predetermined government approved route: Fee of 5 cents per mile driven
Option 4. Disregard Government mandated options: Fee of 25 cents per mile driven.

Thank you for your voluntary participation in saving our future from Climate Change.

You may now start your vehicle

Failure to pay "Fee" immediately after trip will disable your vehicle until fees are fully paid...

48 posted on 04/06/2014 8:26:18 AM PDT by Popman ("Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God" - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: shibumi

Haha, so funny you post that. I immediately started wondering what number was the UPS driver...


49 posted on 04/06/2014 8:29:07 AM PDT by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
As a logistics company with some 96,000 trucks and several hundred aircraft, much of UPS's business can be distilled to a series of optimization problems around reducing the amount of fuel used, saving time, and using space more efficiently.

That's not how it works at all. They raise their prices to whatever they want. They make huge profits. They don't pay their workers any money. Then they dump chemicals into reservoirs after they kick puppies.

50 posted on 04/06/2014 8:30:49 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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