At a stoplight near my home, two lanes merge into one shortly after cars pass through the intersection.  The left lane becomes the thoroughfare and the right lane ends after 300 feet.

Oftentimes, I go through the intersection in the right lane and merge into the left.  It seems the efficient method of traffic flow, to alternate drivers and to fill in gaps in traffic.  But from some of the drivers in the left lane, I get the evil eye as if I am doing something wrong.

I got in the practice of doing this when I lived in another city that was experiencing congestion.  Their DOT actually had signs to encourage people to use the merge lane and alternate traffic.  It made perfect sense.

My question: if the traffic gods here did not want cars in the right lane — to do exactly as I am doing — why is that lane there?  If, before the intersection, everyone is expected to be only in the left lane, why did they pay thousands to install an “extra” lane? (There is already a right and left turn lane as well.)

Do you have the equivalent of an extra lane in your organization?  Is there a policy or practice that you have on the books, but don’t want people to use — or few people are using?  Is there something that exists already in your organization that could be promoted — expanding your capacity at little expense?  

Take a new look at your resources and see if you can’t pave the way to greater efficiency in their use.

— beth triplett

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