Why UPS Trucks Don't Turn Left
Originally published on priceonomics.com
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.)