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    Thread: Save Time And Fuel: Only Turn Right

    1. Member GoHomePossum's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 01:06 PM #1
      I always prefer right hand turns for these reasons, though I am probably optimizing my route that way only subconsciously - I'm not using software to plot my route every day

      (CNN)UPS trucks almost never take left-hand turns.

      By favoring right-hand turns at all times -- unless a left is unavoidable -- the carrier saves millions of gallons of fuel each year, and avoids emissions equivalent to over 20,000 passenger cars.
      The practice started decades ago, before computers and GPS, and is now managed by a software that conjures the most efficient route for each truck.

      Left-hand turns are generally considered unsafe and wasteful on right-hand driving roads, such as those in the US.
      "Left-turning traffic typically has to turn against a flow of oncoming vehicles," explains Tom Vanderbilt, author of the book "Traffic: Why we drive the way we do."
      "This can not only be dangerous, but makes traffic build up, unless you install a dedicated left-turn 'phase,' which is fine but basically adds 30 or 45 seconds to everyone else's single time," he said.

      A study on crash factors in intersection-related accidents from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Association shows that turning left is one of the leading "critical pre-crash events" (an event that made a collision inevitable), occurring in 22.2 percent of crashes, as opposed to 1.2 percent for right turns. About 61 percent of crashes that occur while turning or crossing an intersection involve left turns, as opposed to just 3.1 percent involving right turns.

      Left turns are also three times more likely to kill pedestrians than right ones, according to data collected by New York City's transportation planners.

      "A left-hand turn is also less fuel efficient," said Jack Levis, UPS Senior Director of Process Management, "because your car's idling longer, which is also not good for your vehicle."
      UPS does not ban left turns outright, says Levis: "We will make left hand turns, but not ones that are unnecessary. We don't need to go in circles all day long by making only right hand turns. We have tools analyze the number of left hand turns for each route, and we can work out which ones are avoidable."

      The procedure is now incorporated in most countries around the world.

      To this end, the carrier created its own maps, which it says are more accurate that commercially available ones: "We can differentiate more important left-hand turns from unimportant ones. Google Maps has no concept of not making a left-hand turn, it just shows the most direct way to reach your destination. We have the ability to penalize some of those," Levis told CNN.
      The system knows about parking lots, private driveways, variable speed limits and roads that are inaccessible for a truck.

      The software can give an undesirable left turn a penalty that adds 20 seconds to the estimated route time. In that case, going around the block and turning always right might offset that 20-second penalty: "We were able to turn off left hand turns," said Levis.
      Taking a longer route while still saving time and fuel might sound confusing, even to UPS drivers, according to Vanderbilt: "I've actually been to UPS's logistics center and discussed this with their lead engineers," he said.

      "A lot of individual drivers felt the new routing software was making their trips longer, but they were later proven wrong. This is the thing about traffic, it's such a complex system that often the individual cannot get a sense of the overall efficiency of the system, and optimize accordingly. It's also one of the counterintuitive, 'slower-is-faster' effects you often see in traffic."
      The rule, says Levis, can also be applied to left-hand driving countries, such as Australia and the UK, where it discourages right-hand turns.

      In 2008, it launched a routing software to calculate the best possible route for each truck while favoring right-hand turns, called Orion: "It took 10 years to get it right. The hardest part was making it think more like a driver and less like a computer," said Levis.

      UPS, which makes 18 million deliveries a day in the US, says that Orion analyzes 250 million address points a day and performs 30,000 route optimizations per minute. This saves the company $300 to $400 million annually in fuel, wages and vehicle running costs: "Our basic routines were already good, and allowed us to save about 85 million miles a year. When we put Orion on top of those, it shaved off an extra 100 million miles, and the savings got up to 185 million miles a year."

      "This no left hand turn discussion came out of a conversation about what regular consumers can do to be more fuel efficient," explains Levis.
      Examples would be consolidating trips, parking in a central location to walk to several nearby destinations, and using the right vehicle for the job.
      But would an avoidance of left-hand turns help save fuel, or time, in everyday driving?

      "The method works well for pre-planned deliveries, but in daily driving, our routes are usually far less random," said Wayne Gerdes, who holds world records for fuel-efficient driving and is an advocate of a technique called "Hypermiling."

      Most of us are not going to multiple different addresses, but faced with the challenge of optimizing a daily commute that may not have changed for years, says Gerdes: "Eliminating left turns cannot in many cases be incorporated into our own more ridged daily routing, so my suggestion is to map multiple routes and work them into your commute.

      "Do not stop the optimization as traffic, roads and conditions change year over year for many of us. If one route has a new roundabout for example, try it! When I experience a new roundabout on a road I have discarded for decades because of stop signs or non-priority lights, I will prioritize this new route over others, while saving both fuel and time.
      I now have an InstaGram: emmettlodge

    2. Member Egz's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 01:10 PM #2


      NJ had turn right to go left first.

    3. Member adrew's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 01:12 PM #3
      Same - I just experiment with different routes that keep me rolling as much as possible.

      I avoid surface streets and neighborhood routes that have pointless traffic calming stop signs scattered around since starting from a stop over and over kills MPG. I get much better fuel economy on the relatively traffickly 6-lane main street through town since I can usually catch a green wave for 6-7 miles.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    4. Member GoHomePossum's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 01:14 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      Same - I just experiment with different routes that keep me rolling as much as possible.

      I avoid surface streets and neighborhood routes that have pointless traffic calming stop signs scattered around since starting from a stop over and over kills MPG.
      Pro tip: Running stop signs saves fuel
      I now have an InstaGram: emmettlodge

    5. Member PsychoVolvo's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 01:34 PM #5
      Just keep your best tires on the left.

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      02-17-2017 01:43 PM #6
      I ride my bike routes when exercising in clockwise fashion. Never thought about it until I realized one day watching a bunch of guys going the opposite direction waiting to turn left.

      I also run errands for takeout food or to Home Depot this way. The route might be 1/2 mile longer but it saves me 2 lefts that take me 5 minutes to make.

    7. Member overst33r's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 02:01 PM #7
      Must be a slow news day...reported 10 years ago http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=3005890&page=1

      ...and again 6 years ago http://www.businessinsider.com/ups-e...rn-left-2011-3


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    8. Member Accidental L8 apex's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 02:21 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by overst33r View Post
      Must be a slow news day...reported 10 years ago http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=3005890&page=1

      ...and again 6 years ago http://www.businessinsider.com/ups-e...rn-left-2011-3
      Yeah, how is this not old-news at this point?
      Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. - Mark Twain

    9. Member compy222's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 02:37 PM #9
      the book referenced, "Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do" is an awesome read for anyone curious about auto related policy, driving, and roads.

      Quote Originally Posted by capsaicin View Post
      AP1 S2000? I can not in good conscience talk you out of that. May your slip angle be great and your bed not be the couch!

    10. Senior Member jnm2.0t's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 02:45 PM #10
      didnt they start doing that like 20 years ago?

      i have a green initiative of my own. when there's any number of ways to go to a spot i will always take the green light and then deal with the next intersection. so if i'm pulling up to a green left and i dont really need to turn left quite yet but i could, i just go. not likely i will get a green when i do need it so i will cut that likely traffic sitting time right now and then make a right later which is far easier.
      I'm just a regular Joe, with a regular job. I'm your average white, suburbanite slob.

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    11. Member Jimmy Russells's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 02:50 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by jnm2.0t View Post
      didnt they start doing that like 20 years ago?

      i have a green initiative of my own. when there's any number of ways to go to a spot i will always take the green light and then deal with the next intersection. so if i'm pulling up to a green left and i dont really need to turn left quite yet but i could, i just go. not likely i will get a green when i do need it so i will cut that likely traffic sitting time right now and then make a right later which is far easier.

      And if you have to make a left somewhere and hit a red light, do it there. Then when you hit those rare intersections with delayed advance left;

      The OG Russells is back!

      Quote Originally Posted by Sump View Post
      I'm sure a lot of these guys went home after the carwash and played a little hans solo.

    12. Member clutchrider's Avatar
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      02-17-2017 03:09 PM #12
      Unless you live in New England where we don't have 6 lane plus intersections but instead loads of back roads along our routes that provide much shorter travel times. By avoiding the larger more congested 2 lane intersections where not everyone makes the left arrow or not everyone gets through "that" green cycle, taking the backroad may yield a slower speed but you are rolling along constantly and avoiding larger backups. My route home from daycare could take me along two long windy main roads (two lane) with one light. I however jump off before this light and take a back road with one stop sign and two lights that have a shorter cycle and a lot less congestion to deal with so I make it through the light with ease and not a lot of waiting.

      I've done my share of driving in NOVA where these massive intersections that you sit and wait forever to get a chance to move, meanwhile you can get stuck slowing down a mile from the actual light as it cycles on a road with a speed limit of 55/60. Jersey's jugs have their advantages but you sometimes have to drive miles past your destination to get to it, although it does validate having two DD's across the street from each other.
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    13. Member Blade3562's Avatar
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      02-18-2017 12:19 AM #13
      Ironically the only accident I've ever been in was a UPS truck making a left hand turn in front of us. Every person that arrived on the scene was like I thought UPS didn't turn left

    14. Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
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      02-18-2017 12:28 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by compy222 View Post
      the book referenced, "Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do" is an awesome read for anyone curious about auto related policy, driving, and roads.

      Very interesting book to read.

      Essential read for arguing over the Internet with your friends on TCL.


      Quote Originally Posted by PsychoVolvo View Post
      Just keep your best tires on the left.
      What you did there, I see it.
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      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
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      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.

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