23 February 2008

Choose The Right…Turn

UPS is making like Derek Zoolander, and not turning left. They have eliminated left-hand turn routes from their 95,000 truck fleet using a "package flow" software program. It has been a year now and the results are in:

"Last year, according to Heather Robinson, a U.P.S. spokeswoman, the software helped the company shave 28.5 million miles off its delivery routes, which has resulted in savings of roughly three million gallons of gas and has reduced CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons." (source)

No more engine idling, waiting for the left-turn light. Maybe they are also using these trucks. Obviously the main reason for doing this was to save money, but the situation is a win-win for everyone involved. UPS saves time and money, our air is cleaner, and their vehicles aren’t on congested roads as much. Additionally, this type of study is further proof that one-way streets, jughandles, and traffic circles are more efficient than our current two-way streets. But updating infrastructure is costly and time-consuming. So what can we do? One possibility is to think about alternative routes while driving around town that will save us time by not making left-hand turns. This would especially be easy to do in areas we are familiar with. For those who may think small suggestions like this are crazy, you may be right, but I offer the following words from Alma to his son:

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass…" (Alma 37:6)

Finally, the church obviously has an enormous fleet of vehicles worldwide. Any attempt at reducing this fleet would be good to hear about. Walking, biking, or using public transit is ideal for missionary work in urban areas and even suburbs. One good thing happening in US missions: senior couples generally bring their own vehicle rather than the mission providing one. Another area the church appears to be doing well at is limiting the number of vehicle miles each month by the missionaries. This was done even when I served a mission and helps immensely in reduced trips, planning, and efficiency. Finally, the church has an ongoing vehicle fleet sale out of Salt Lake City. I was pleasantly surprised to see that two of the 18 current vehicles for sale are Hybrids (week beginning 18 Feb 2008). It would be good to see more, but this is still a good start.

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