Left Out: UPS software minimizes left turns

What can Brown do for you? Not make left turns, for a start.

UPS uses proprietary software it calls "package flow" to increase efficiency in its logistical operations, including mapping out routes for each of its 95,000 delivery trucks. According to UPS, the software has already cut out some 28.5 million miles, 3 million gallons of fuel and 31,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by optimizing the most efficient routes for delivery. The next step is to minimize the number of left-hand turns its trucks have to make.

Hanging a left entails more waiting at traffic lights and for circulation to clear at intersections than taking right turns, so UPS is reprogramming Package Flow to favor right turns instead. Naturally, it won't send its trucks around in circles if a left turn is in order, but seeing a big brown truck turn left could become a rarer sight from now on.

[Source: The New York Times Magazine via Winding Road]

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