UPS released its latest sustainability report, which details the progress the company made that year toward making its overall operations more environmentally friendly and offers specifics on how it is managing its fleet to meet its larger goals.

To start, the company used its own telematics platform to optimize routes, which helped reduce idling time at stoplights and helped drivers avoid traffic and to reach destinations in less time. Next, the company re-routed vehicles as-needed based on changing customer pick-up requests, requested changes in delivery, etc. Also, the company identified loading and unloading locations that allow for multiple deliveries.

In terms of measuring miles avoided by using telematics, UPS tracks the number of stops its delivery drivers made per mile traveled during a given year. In 2012, the company said it improved the number of stops per mile to 1.456 from 1.437 in 2011, which translates into the 12.1 million miles the company's drivers avoided driving. Although UPS said its total number of stops increased 2.3% in 2012, the number of miles its drivers traveled only increased 1.3%.

UPS' telematics platform provides the company’s drivers with feedback on their fuel-efficiency performance and tells them methods for improving it. For example, in dealing with idling, UPS said telematics helped its drivers reduce the average time spent idling per driver per day to 48 minutes in 2012, which was down from the average of 122 minutes spent idling in 2011. UPS said this equates to 250,000 gallons of fuel savings and emissions reductions of 2,600 metric tonnes.

The company also uses telematics to collect vehicle data that allowed it to replace parts and perform service closer to when needed. In 2012, the company said it completed 96% of its targeted telematics rollout for its U.S. Domestic Package segment, which includes more than 74,800 vehicles.

Beyond optimizing its ground fleet’s operations, UPS operates a number of alternative-fuel vehicles, and at the end of 2012, the company had 2,688 of the on the road in 10 countries. The company drove these vehicles 49 million more miles in 2012, which was approximately 43% more compared to 2011.

When measuring its sustainability progress, one method the company uses is the metric of ground packages per gallon of fuel to track the carbon intensity of its ground transportation fleet in its U.S. Domestic Package service. The company said in 2012, it increased the number of ground packages per gallon of fuel used for the fourth year in a row to 8.85. UPS added that although its package volume rose 2.7% for this business segment in 2012, its fuel consumption only rose 0.3%.