View Full Version : How to get from A to B efficiently

26th Apr 2013, 10:24
So here is my question, I am working part time as a postman at the moment and was wondering, in the following scenario what is the most time efficient way of doing things.

Imagine you're in a van and you have 10 houses in a row (point A to point B) each house has one letter to be delivered, which of the following methods is most time (not necessarily energy) efficient.

1. Drive van to point A, deliver to all the houses on foot and walk back to the van at point A.

2. Drive van to a midway point twixt A and B, walk to A all the way up to B and then back to the van.

3. Drive van to point A, deliver to 2 or 3 houses, back to the van and move to the next point.

or maybe there is another way (chucking post in the skip and going down the pub)

Thanks for any replies


26th Apr 2013, 10:29
All walking distances are identical. Park in the safest place along the row of houses & do it in one walk. This assumes you don't mind the extra weight of carrying all the letters at once.

p.s. I was, briefly, a milkman, where weight is an issue. In this case one goes for the third option where the number of houses in one go depends on the load carried. Plus, you park in the middle of the bunch so's you can keep an eye out for some scumbag trying to nick a pint/your milkfloat.;)

26th Apr 2013, 10:36
Drop off all letters at point A and head off early to point C for a pint.
Next day drop off all letters at point A + 1 and head off early to point C for a pint.
Next day drop off all letters at point A + 9 and head off early to point C for a pint.
Next day drop off all letters at point B and head off early to point C for a pint.


26th Apr 2013, 10:42
walk all the way to work off the calories, then go to the pub for retox and then walk back to the car. Assuming you don't have to drive far any more (retox issues).

26th Apr 2013, 11:10

People make software and tools for this sort of thing.

Cheapest one I know of is called "PostcodeAnywhere Route Optimisation", although its cheap because it requires a little bit of work on your part to make it work. There are probably other "off the shelf" options.

26th Apr 2013, 11:22
Which house has the fierce dog?
Which house has the blonde who comes to the door in her negligee? (Assuming the milkman didn't get there before you)

26th Apr 2013, 11:27
Give up with the van and get a horse and cart. Then you can alight at point A with the letters, walk to point B delivering the rest en route..meanwhile the horse will have followed you and you can then get back on the cart with no further walking needed!!

26th Apr 2013, 11:38
Slip the paperboy a few quid to deliver them for you.

26th Apr 2013, 11:41
I like the horse and cart idea, more reliable than the 'nags' we currently use (Vauxhall combi) and you get free fertiliser, I will put this forward as an idea :D

A A Gruntpuddock
26th Apr 2013, 11:44
Park in the middle and post half the letters.

Return to van, pick up remaining letters and post those?

tony draper
26th Apr 2013, 11:53
Unless I am missing summat(which is possible)all those methods involve walking exactly the same distance carrying the same weight which ever is selected.

26th Apr 2013, 11:54
Thank the Lord you weren't a postman in the old Prussian town of Konigsberg...!

Loci: Convergence | Leonard Euler's Solution to the Konigsberg Bridge Problem (http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/46/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=1310&bodyId=1452)


26th Apr 2013, 12:01
Do what my postie does, parks van, delivers to one side of the street. Retraces steps and delivers to the other side of the street. Cuts out the walking between houses which basically involves a triangular path between points which is more distance than parallel lines...ooer too much math...


PS: then go to the pub

Erwin Schroedinger
26th Apr 2013, 12:16
How's about a variation of what our postlady does on a regular basis: Leave our letters, plus one or more neighbour's letters and expect us to sort it out.

Erwin Schroedinger
26th Apr 2013, 12:20
Thank the Lord you weren't a postman in the old Prussian town of Konigsberg...!

Aye! You'd definitely be down the pub.


26th Apr 2013, 12:52
Erwin, isn't true that Mr Schrodinger was reputed to have said.

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it

I guess he wasn't talking about the beer though. ;)


Erwin Schroedinger
26th Apr 2013, 13:16
Zat iz ve-e-e-ery probable, ja. :8

Milo Minderbinder
26th Apr 2013, 14:06
buy a bicycle and take it to each house.
leave the van behind

Lon More
26th Apr 2013, 14:09
Tear all the letters in half, scatter them to the wind. Rip a hole in your trousers and claim a big dog did it.
(as done by a postie in Luton c. 1965}

26th Apr 2013, 14:11
Shanks's pony.

26th Apr 2013, 14:17
Take letters home.

Hack in to senders' email accounts telling them to instruct their correspondents to switch to electronic communications.

Hack in to recipients' email accounts telling them to switch to electronic communication.

Job done. You've worked yourself out of a job.

Walk to dole office and register for work seekers' allowance.

26th Apr 2013, 14:19
Assuming the milkman didn't get there before you

I did! :E

and there's not even a negligee these days.

Krystal n chips
26th Apr 2013, 14:24
Sit in van.

Delegate or sub-contract deliveries.

Pay minimum wage, less deductions.

Make a fortune and get M.B.E from CMD as UK's " Outstanding Entrepreneur 2013 / 14"

Find another job.

26th Apr 2013, 14:28
Drop the letters in the nearest postbox.

Call-in sick.

26th Apr 2013, 15:08
Remembering back to childhood, our postman used to hurdle the fences between the houses to avoid having to walk up and down the paths!

Combine that with the horse and cart suggestion......efficiency!

26th Apr 2013, 15:56
Ozzy (http://www.pprune.org/members/67111-ozzy)

Prince of Darkness

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: USA and a Brit
Posts: 346

... ooer too much math...

How long have you been over there Ozzy? ;)

26th Apr 2013, 17:14
What do you mean by efficiently?
Is it your own energy, time, total energy including fuel burned by car?

Obviously if the aim is to get to point C for retox, ie time, then the equation will have to compare the distance covered by you on foot with the time taken for you to get into van and travel the same distance.

I didn't realize being a postman was so stressful.

For my part, I suggest you buy a pair of Dr Martens and walk it.

26th Apr 2013, 17:22
One of our postal delivery guys is extremely rotund and probably significantly 'overweight'. In addition to using the van, he is to be seen frequenting the sandwich shop in the village for supplies to keep him going.

26th Apr 2013, 20:14
Too long tankertrashnav - well 22 years to be exact!


Loose rivets
26th Apr 2013, 21:10
Did you know, and not many people know this, Leonard Euler's surname is pronounced Oiler.

He's worth a Wiki, cos he was smart. Smarter than a smart person on clever pills.

26th Apr 2013, 21:27
not many people know this, Leonard Euler's surname is pronounced Oiler.
Please, Sir, I knew!

Buckling (http://www.tech.plym.ac.uk/sme/desnotes/buckling.htm).