Potential Savings From Diverting Certain Mail From Air to Surface Transportation

GGD-82-63: Published: Jun 18, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 1982.

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Arnold P. Jones
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GAO reviewed the Postal Service's national transportation and distribution system to determine whether the Service could convert short-haul, high-cost mail from air to surface transportation. The objectives of this project were to: develop a methodology for the analysis and potential conversion of mail to more economical and timely transportation systems; and test the methodology's validity in a variety of markets and determine potential savings or service improvements.

Using the methodology GAO and the Postal Service developed jointly, GAO identified 54 routes throughout the Nation which are less than 500 miles apart where mail costs might be significantly reduced if the Service diverts the mail from surface to air transportation. GAO believes that the methodology being used will also provide postal regions with the tools needed to identify air routes for which conversion to surface transportation will result in increased service and reduced costs. In addition, GAO noted that the methodology can also be applied to other transportation and distribution activities, including: consolidating and reducing the number of highway contract and motor vehicle routes, and reducing the number and capacity of vehicles needed to move the mail.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Postal Service should systematically adopt this methodology nationwide to determine which routes can be diverted to surface transportation and result in savings of millions of dollars annually. The Postal Service should also consider using this methodology for the other previously identified transportation and distribution activities to gain additional cost reductions and improved service.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service


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