Thursday, April 6, 2017

Informed Delivery: It's Like a Crystal Ball for Your Mailbox

Citizens across the United States will soon have the opportunity to peer into a digital "crystal ball" every morning and see what the day's mail service will bring. The U.S. Postal Service is introducing the Informed Delivery program to most of the country this month, letting everyone who signs up know by email what letters will soon be delivered.

According to the USPS website, participants in the new service will be able to receive images of the mail that will be placed in their mailbox each day. Black and white images of actual letter-sized mail pieces, processed by USPS sorting equipment, will be provided via email each morning. Flat-sized pieces, such as catalogues or magazines, may be added in the future.

The project has apparently been tested in several major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC. But, by April 14, 2017, the USPS expects to offer the service to most of the remaining ZIP codes in the U.S.

Bob Dixon, the executive program director of Informed Delivery, told NPR that participants in specific scenarios — like roommates who misplaced each other's mail or people who traveled frequently — found the daily messages helpful. "I and many people manage their life through a cellphone or tablet or some other digital medium," Dixon says in the NPR story. "As we become busier and busier, it's important to have things in one place."

The service can help fight mail theft; you'll know every day what's supposed to be in the mailbox and can alert authorities immediately if something is missing. 

For more information and to find out if your ZIP code is included in the program, visit the USPS website's Informed Delivery page.

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