What should the postal vehicle of the future look like? The U.S. Postal Service recently put that question to its carriers and vehicle maintenance personnel and is currently reviewing the feedback. It’s an important question because the delivery fleet is aging and the Postal Service needs to quickly replace it. In fact, our recent audit on the topic found the current fleet can only meet delivery needs through fiscal year 2017 – and that assumes no unexpected decrease in vehicle inventory or increase in the number of motorized routes.

About 142,000 long-life vehicles (LLVs) out of the 190,000-vehicle total delivery fleet are near or have exceeded their expected service life. Replacing these aging vehicles is daunting, particularly given the Postal Service’s financial constraints.

But fleet replacement isn’t just a major challenge; it’s also a big opportunity. Because the LLVs are up to 27 years old, they aren’t as fuel efficient as newer models. They also lack many of the safety features now considered standard for vehicle fleets, such as back-up cameras, front airbags, and anti-lock brakes. The next generation of vehicles can incorporate the latest safety and environmental bells and whistles, which will protect employees, cut down on fuel costs, and help the Postal Service meet its sustainability goals. Also, given the growth in packages, new vehicle designs could address the challenges of larger and irregularly shaped items.

The Postal Service has a short- and long-term vehicle fleet acquisition strategy, but we found the plan lacks details such as vehicle specifications and green technology features. Also, despite 3 years of effort, the plan has not been approved or fully funded due primarily to the Postal Service’s lack of capital. Given the urgent need to upgrade the fleet, we are encouraging the Postal Service to make some incremental purchases while formalizing a more specific long-term plan for the next generation of LLVs.

What are your thoughts on future postal vehicles? What should they look like? What safety and environmental features or other technologies would you like the Postal Service to add? 

Comments (159)

The most direct way to report fraud, waste, misconduct within the Postal Service is via our Hotline form

Leave a comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
  • anon

    Definitely retractable shelves! Window would be a good idea, but can't see the use for air. Most of us aren't IN the truck long enough for it to be enjoyed.

    Jul 29, 2014
  • anon

    Sure..because you're a letter carrier...rural carriers aren't parked on the street corner while the carrier does loops.we are in them 5-6 hours a day!

    Feb 23, 2015
  • anon

    I think that all mail carriers should be provided an LLV or new vehicle... I would settle for a used one. I love my job more than anthing. Its hard, stressful, mainting a vehicle that might break down any second. Then the cost of knowing you have to have it up and running in the moring, or pray to god you have a backup.

    Jul 28, 2014
  • anon

    I have just received an LLV this year and am from Maine and I do believe that if we are going to keep the same model of delivering all mail and packages everyday we need an all wheel drive. The LLV slides on as little as an inch of snow and can not get around well at all. Christmas time is a crutual time and stressful time for customers and they would like to see timely deliver for the packages and if we cannot get to them and they need to pick up, what kind of service are we offering to them. The LLV does leak and the packages are always covered in dust and snow. Need to definitely have a more air tight compartment. As had been a carrier since 1997, I feel that the delivery space of the LLV could have been a little more organized and equipped with areas of storage of all things needed to be the best carrier that we can. Including space for pens, hold cards, forwarding cards, and all other forms to perform our duties. The large tray in which deliver from is okay but could use some enhancements so we could utilize the space underneath better. We definitely need some heat and as far as summer I haven't got there yet. There are a lot of things I would love to change, sometimes I feel I was more organized out of my own vehicle.

    Mar 22, 2015
  • anon

    The new vehicles should have air and appropriate heat, better window defrosters, handle well in snow, have the same safety features required in all other cars, such as air bags, seat belts and also big enough to accommodate the ever growing parcel business.

    Jul 28, 2014
  • anon

    and should be all wheel drive!

    Jul 28, 2014
  • anon

    Exactly.the biggest problems in the northern half of the country are lack of traction,heat in winter and blistering hot in summer..no a/c..we call them Unsafe At any Speed in rural country in the winter.

    Feb 23, 2015
  • anon

    Best idea I've heard in years.A little more$ .But no more then sliding into whatever happens to be downhill.Besides ,we're worth it.

    Aug 08, 2014
  • anon

    Well said Renee Higgins!!

    Jul 28, 2014

Pages

Share this post


Recent Comments

Monthly Archive