Years ago, UPS implemented one simple policy that has paid dividends for the company. That rule is no left turns. Routes for the company are developed consisting only of right turns to increase efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and get drivers back to their centers earlier.
Since 2004, UPS estimates this tactic has saved close to 10 million gallons of fuel. Carbon emissions were reduced by 100,000 metric tons (that equals the amount of 5,300 cars off the road for an entire year).
When I heard of the UPS ‘no left turn’ policy the first thing I thought of was Ben Still in Zoolander.
Don’t worry Derek…you aren’t the only one out there.
But maybe Stiller’s character , Derek Zoolander, was on to something? Why sit waiting in traffic to make that left turn when 3 right turns are going to get you there quicker and save you some money on gas?
The UPS concept began in 2001 when tracking systems improved, after a study dissecting vehicles during its delivery route to see where efficiencies could be improved. Their study found that a majority of idling time came from making left turns and going against traffic.
Even if this meant traveling a greater distance, results showed that more packages could be delivered in less time with reduced emissions by driving in a series of right-hand loops. It helped the bottom line, met consumer demands and increased safety.
Federal data shows the 53.1 percent of crossing-path crashes involve left turns, but only 5.7 percent involved right turns. New York City’s transportation planners concluded that left-hand turns were 3 times more likely to cause a deadly crash involving a pedestrian as right-hand turns. Finally, 36 percent of fatal accidents involving motorcycles result from a left-hand turn.
The gang from Mythubusters even got in on the act.
There you have it– If you are looking to save some extra money, you may want to look into UPS concept. It’s clear this may not be the smartest idea for a small time delivering company or the every day car driver, but if you are a larger corporation making a lot of deliveries in an urban area, it may be just the RIGHT fix.
Sources: UPS Press Release, Washington Post