The Left Turn Strategy That’s Saved UPS 10 Million Gallons of Gas

By: | April 27th, 2014

If you’ve ever watched a UPS delivery truck in action, you’ve probably noticed a pattern. In a green effort, both money and the environment, those big brown trucks don’t turn left. It’s not that drivers can’t turn left. They just won’t.

To save money while building a greener image, UPS said no to left turns. It’s a lofty goal the company set considering UPS delivers more than 4 billion packages and documents a year.

Why UPS said no to left turns: With the intention of increasing efficiency, lessen fuel consumption, increasing safety and saving time, UPS engineers set up route-optimization plans and examined carefully the methods drivers opt to deliver packages.

They found that UPS truck drivers waste a lot of time and fuel at intersections waiting for oncoming traffic to clear so they can make left turns. In order to avoid this wastage, UPS made a simple rule to minimize or just avoid left-hand turns.

How they managed: The company created a “package flow” software program, which would map driving routes for each one of its drivers, significantly reducing the number of left-hand turns drivers make.

It worked and the results were really impressive. Since the deployment of this route planning technology in 2004, UPS has saved an estimated 10 million gallons of gas and reduced carbon emissions by 100,000 metric tons. This reduced CO2 emission is equivalent of taking 5,300 cars off the road for an entire year.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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