No left turns!

  1. I was talking to a friend today who used to work at UPS. He told me the drivers have routes mapped out that exclude all left turns because you have to wait behind a light for them, whereas you can just go on a right turn. It saves UPS time, and money in fuel!

    Thats damn clever!

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7000908

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_20060716/ai_n16540534

     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mech_Engineer

    Mech_Engineer 2,299
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Additionally, left turns have an increased risk of an accident as opposed to a right hand turn. FedEx and DHL do the same thing I think.
     
  4. This is a practical application of the adage: Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.
     
  5. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Hmmmm, I see UPS vans turning left all the time. It makes more sense to wait to turn at a single left turn light than be stopped by traffic at three right turns. I guarantee that I will almost always turn left before someone can make it around the block, through all the traffic and three more lights.
     
  6. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    I'll ask the UPS driver I know to see if he knows of this policy.

    There is a UPS center near my home and I usually encounter several trucks doing left turns when heading back to the center. Perhaps their route just minimizes left turns.
     
  7. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    Across the road from my house, there is a dead-end road, and about every day, the UPS driver makes a left-hand turn up that road, and then makes a left-hand turn as he exits that road to continue on his route. The way his route is structured, he cannot make right-hand turns to serve the customers on that road.
     
  8. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    I think what they are saying is that they try to load the trucks with deliveries that when plotted would mostly send the driver to the right.

    That doesn't mean a normal driver should make right turns around a block instead of a left turn. That would be silly.
     
  9. :rofl: No one bothered to read the article. :grumpy: :shameonyousmiley:
     
  10. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    No one has objected to route optimization with mileage reduction. We just objected to routes "that exclude all left turns". I see UPS trucks doing left turns all the time.

    We also have quite a few "No Right Turn on Red" signs in my area, mostly in the heavy traffic areas and high population density.
     
  11. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    Well, it might work out well in some urban and dense suburban areas, but in my neck of the woods, it would save little or nothing. The area is largely rural, with very few traffic lights, and long back-tracks on roads that dead-end. Here the most fuel-efficient routes are the ones that can eliminate as much back-tracking as possible while taking advantage of obscure back roads that can shave some miles of the routes based on state highways.
     
  12. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    I guessed right without listening!!! MUWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    They load the trucks with deliveries that are plotted to go right!!!!!

    MUWAHAHAHAHA!!!

    As they say, it is not feasible for normal drivers. Go EVO!!!

    What did I win?

    Edit: Ok, I confess, I've worked with UPS, Fed EX and DHL and one of the bazillion things I do is route optimization, so it's not like I didn't already know the answer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2008
  13. This seemed like such a good idea, I decided to try it out. I often travel from Westampton to Mt. Holly, NJ along the banks of the mighty Rancocas Crick. This time I put all the parameters into my computer and came up with a route that has no left turns in it. I got to where I was going all right, and I passed through Timbuctoo. So from now on I'm using this new route. The only thing is, the route has no right turns in it either. It always was a straight run.
     
  14. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    I've written route optimization software for trucking companies. You see, some states rebate fuel taxes for miles not driven in their states, and some do not, or do so only at reduced rates. If you own a large trucking company, letting your drivers fuel up in narrow little NH (which does not prorate the taxes to in-state mileage) can cost you a LOT of money, so I developed a routing program that took into consideration the range of the tractor-trailers, loaded and unloaded, the routes across the various states, and the tax strategies of those states so that the dispatchers could direct the drivers where to fill up, where to top off, and where to buy enough fuel to get them to the next tax-friendly state. The program saved countless thousands of dollars for my trucking-company clients.
     
  15. [​IMG]

    No left turns for you!
     
  16. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Most places here have left turn signals that are faster to get through than going straight or turning right (due to the amount of traffic going in the respective directions), so taking only right turns would NOT optimize the routes. However, in one shopping center, I almost always make a right turn to go left...they need a 4-way stop where there is no traffic control, and it can take forever to make a left out of a parking lot. Instead, I make a right turn, head down to the further parking area, where there is no other oncoming traffic, turn left into that lot from the center turn lane, then U-turn in the parking lot, do a right back onto the main road, and pass the car that was ahead of me still waiting to do a left turn. :biggrin: If they had a traffic light or 4-way stop, a left turn would be faster than all that.

    How can you avoid turning left anyway? If you make a bunch of right turns, you still end up back where you started. You have to turn left at some point if you want to go left.
     
  17. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think it was Ford who banned all left turns back in the 70s. But this was done to reduce accidents - left turns across traffic are the second most common reason [at least it was for a long time...maybe cell phones now?]. "Too fast for conditions" is number one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2008
  18. I think ford banned all sense of aesthetics and quality after the 70's.

    I picture the UPS guy with a truck rigged only to turn right. The road curves to the left and he desperately tries to get the wheel to turn left, but its got stops that wont let the steering wheel turn past dead center in the left direction. He then blows straight through the turn, off the side of the mountain, rolls a few times, and explodes, and saves 5.2 gallons of fuel getting to the bottom of the mountain in the process.

    http://www.pootling.net/2007/07/demotivational-posters-on-worth1000.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2008
  19. BobG

    BobG 2,368
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    That works for small delivery trucks, but not all trucks.

    A better option for semis would be a route with no right turns. There's a lot of city intersections where right turns are a lot more difficult than left turns.

    Mapping a good route to a delivery point is a pretty nice option, especially if it's part of a larger package designed to maintain dispatcher/truck communications, help log truck activity and coordinate drops and pickups. Geologic's Maptuit and Geologic's Mobile Max. The navigation software is an optional add-on to the overall truck management package, which combines cell-phone and satellite communications (cell-phone is cheaper, but the US still doesn't have 100% coverage over the entire country).

    I like the other add-on that's gaining popularity: packages like Cold Trace. They provide an entire history of the temperature of the trailer - a big deal to stores receiving produce and meat.
     
  20. BobG

    BobG 2,368
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Huh! You have no sense of magic. You don't need left turns.

    Besides, even if it did turn out like you say, as long as they have Cold Trace to monitor the temperature, they could still verify the produce in the back was fresh.
     
  21. EnumaElish

    EnumaElish 2,483
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Today I actually saw a UPS truck making a left turn (on a wide street with left-turn arrow).
     
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