Many of you likely use Global Position System (GPS) on a regular basis, driving to someplace new or maybe using a GPS-driven app to avoid traffic. But did you know the Postal Service uses GPS to manage its highway transportation contracts?

In 2016, the Postal Service implemented a new program, the Enterprise Transportation Analytics (ETA) system, which relies on GPS to provide real-time data to measure its trailer usage, provide location visibility, estimate time of arrival, optimize travel routes, and improve service. To put a number on it, the Postal Service managed over 12,200 highway contract routes (HCRs) as of January 2020 and had purchased almost 22,000 GPS devices.

In our recent audit, we looked at whether USPS was effectively managing this program. We found the GPS information (e.g., asset number, GPS requirement indicator, etc.) is not routinely updated, nor is it consistently managed. The problem? Management didn’t provide adequate guidance, training, or oversight of the GPS program. As a result, the Postal Service didn’t have an accurate count of the number of routes requiring GPS or the number of vehicles used on the routes. There also were other problems in communicating about ETA, and almost four of every ten HCR suppliers were never contacted about the program.

Because of our work, the Postal Service began a new national Highway Contract Route Trailer Validation initiative on June 25, 2020.

What are your thoughts on other ways could the Postal Service use GPS? 

Comments (9)

  • anon

    If I can not access the actual GPS info it is totally useless. A scan that shows in tracking as "Package Delivered" is meaningless without coordinates to show where it was delivered. I have to go to the PO and get my local guy to look up the GPS tracking info. Why not let the customer have access??

    Sep 20, 2021
  • anon

    My mother is terminally ill. This is her last Christmas. I shipped my domestic package(s) 12/10/2020. plenty of time for delivery yet as of 12/20 they are missing. tracking them has been useless as staff advised no additional info besides what i can see myself on line. I understand "covid" delays (I work in the medical field) but with millions of unemployed why did'nt you hire temp employee's? Leadership or lack there of should be held accountable for this major service failure!

    Dec 20, 2020
  • anon

    So...I have packages that enter the system and then go silent, sometimes forever. It would seem that a reasonable system would know exactly what trailer a package was put in, and with GPS, the exact location of that trailer. I always get the usual load-o-crap that it just hasn't been scanned lately. Silent for days sitting at a sort facility, or silent for days because it is traveling to the wrong destination....which happens way too often. Of course a message to your center just gets redirected back to my local post office who haven't even seen the package yet and have no more insight than I do with the tracking. It would seem that even if you do not want your customers to have access to useful information that you would allow the local post office to see where it is. At least then if they see it heading in the wrong direction they can alert that facility and let the customer know it isn't completely lost. Your GPS system is worthless. If you ever want to setup a proper system, let me know, they really are not difficult.

    Dec 17, 2020
  • anon

    I have had several orders of very well marked, obviously boxed live day old birds shipped only to arrive dead well after the 72 hour priority limit, or as the last 2 orders due november 23 still show arriving on time and late Almost a month later that have not shown up. That's quite a loss in money and lives and we can't "grow out" dead birds for donating let alone it will be spring Before we can reorder and hope not to loose our money again and fight for birds in the busiest ordering cycle in a normal precovid year! I have birds coming from Cameron Texas. Whom do I speak with to ensure these priority birds not only have accurate tracking, but arrive alive in time? DoI need to call the local news and the NYC news (I'm from NYC) so somebody actually treats these babies humanely line the fragile creatures they are?

    Dec 16, 2020
  • anon

    To the postal service its just another piece. With FedEx planes having limited space for USPS products and fewer airliners flying with their cargo holds taking the overflow chicks go in line with every one else wanting priority. With limited cargo hauling capacity if something has to ship with a time guarantee only Express mail offers a guarantee.

    Dec 16, 2020
  • anon

    Publish the route data for the trucks that were carrying ballots

    Dec 04, 2020
  • anon

    so, in a nutshell.....since 2016, with 22,000 gps devices, usps has done squat...another way to use these gps units is to put them on the people who were supposed to be running and overseeing this program...We'd all like to know what they have been doing.

    Nov 27, 2020
  • anon

    Like every thing the post office does take it to the higher level to use for discipline rather than Use it for real time arrival or what was intended it’s use

    Nov 23, 2020
  • anon

    Verizon has a similar program. It is a morale killer. Employees fear they are being tracked to be punished.

    Nov 23, 2020

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