Addressing the Diverse Needs and Wants of Rural America: Opportunities for USPS

September 16, 2019 (RISC-WP-19-009) Rural customers value the social aspects of the Postal Service in their communities — more than half of rural customers know either their postmaster, clerk, or carrier by name. The majority of rural and non-rural customers want weeknight post office retail window hours, but rural post offices offer a disproportionately small…

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USPS OIG Report: Rural and Urban Origins of the U.S. Postal Service

August 26, 2019 (RISC-WP-19-007) From its earliest beginnings, the Postal Service wrestled with conflicts between the needs of rural and urban communities. Congress has played a key role in shaping postal policy throughout history, particularly in rural areas where it worked on granular issues such as the selection of specific delivery routes and the appointment…

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USPS OIG Report: Geographic Variation in Productivity

August 19, 2019 – RISC-WP-19-006 The productivity of the Postal Service varies significantly around the country. The principal factors we examined affecting productivity were weather, cost of living, and terrain ruggedness. Identifying other factors causing productivity to vary around the country could give the Postal Service opportunities to pinpoint and address them. As a follow-up…

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USPS OIG Report: Foreign Posts’ Retirement Asset Investments

The U.S. Postal Service participates in two government-wide pension plans that are administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM): the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). The assets of these plans are held in one trust fund, the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, and are managed by…

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USPS OIG Report: Advertising Mail – Mail Mix Matters

At $20 billion in FY 2017, advertising mail is a significant source of revenue for the Postal Service. Variation in the mail mix enhances the likelihood that a household will respond positively to an advertising mail piece. What factors influence the “three Rs” — reading, reaction, and response — of advertising mail effectiveness? The OIG…

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USPS OIG Report: What’s Driving Postal Transportation Costs?

The Postal Service’s transportation costs have increased over the last 10 years, despite an overall decline in mail volume and the relaxation of First-Class Mail service standards. Nearly 40 percent of the increase cannot be explained by changes in mail volume and transportation-related inputs alone. While costs in general are expected to increase over time…

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USPS OIG Report: Advertising Effectiveness and Age

* Results of our study showed that regardless of age, physical ads were more effective than digital in leaving a lasting impression. * All age groups processed digital ads more quickly than physical, which could be advantageous with limited attention or time. * There were noteworthy differences in the effectiveness of basic advertising design categories…

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USPS OIG Report: Coordination and Optimization Technologies and Postal Applications

September 6, 2018 (RARC-WP-18-014) Coordination and Optimization Technologies (COTs) — a combination of algorithms, data analytics, machine learning and platform technologies — can make parcels delivery more efficient, flexible and customer-centric. Applications of COTs could help the Postal Service expand the capabilities of its delivery network — paving the way for new parcel services and…

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