ATLANTA – With gas prices expected to rise throughout the spring, drivers might consider taking a page from the UPS playbook for saving time and money.
Drivers for Atlanta based United Parcel Service use computers and sophisticated algorithms to help plot their routes. Part of the planning involves trying to avoid left turns.
Left turns usually mean crossing in front of oncoming traffic. It adds time to your trips and puts drivers at risk of an accident.
So, Commuter Dude hit the road with a list of errands and four destinations.
His first trip takes him to the hardware store, library, WalMart, and grocery store. He goes in random order, hitting the closest location first. There is no effort to avoid left turns.
His 7.7 mile venture takes him 33-minutes.
Next, Commuter Dude plots a course that will take him to the same four destinations, only this time he’ll travel in a clockwise loop that places all of those destinations on his right.
At times, it seems counter-intuitive. For example, he passes the library because it would require a left turn in, and then a left turn out. Instead, he travels on to the grocery store, entering and leaving the parking lot with right turns.
By avoiding the left that created the biggest delay on his first trip, Commuter Dude shaved 5-minutes off of his trip. In fact, he even reduced the distance by .2 of a mile, and arrived back home in 28-minutes.
While eliminating all left turns is virtually impossible, especially on long trips, the method of avoiding lefts while running errands around town is possible. It takes time to plan, but can ultimately shave time off of your driving and, ultimately, save on gasoline.