Friday, June 27, 2014

Green vs White HOV decal sticker debate. Sorry Volt and Prius, no discount toll for you.

My wife drives a C-Max Energi with the Green HOV decals. I drive a Fiat 500E with the White HOV carpool sticker. They both are entitled to be in HOV diamond carpool lanes but there is one big difference. Her car, along with the Plugin Prius, Chevy Volt, and Fusion Energi are not allowed to drive on the Bay Bridge with the discounted toll of $2.50. They're suppose to pay $6 during commute time yet I see Plugin Priuses drive through the carpool toll everyday.

There is clearly confusion and no one knows. So if you are coming from Google or a search result with the phrase "Green HOV Bridge Toll", hopefully this page will set the record straight. Sorry Plugin Prius, you won't like what you will read.

People were confused because the old Caltrans 511 web page made references to white and yellow stickers. Since the yellow stickers expired, people thought that page was out-dated and assumed green stickers had the same privileges as white. This not a Green vs White HOV sticker debate, this is just the facts. Green HOV decals for plugin hybrids are not allowed to get discount toll as you will read on this page.

The California Clean Air Resource Board is the authority on this. On their FAQ, page:

White stickers are defined as ILEV cars. Meaning, PURE Electric cars meet the Federal Inherently Low Emission standards. A Volt and Plugin Prius are TZEV, Transitional zero emissions. That is the key difference and those initials and definitions are very important in the eyes of the law.

So now, you must read the actual toll pages of the various bridges and you will see, it explicity states those benefits only apply to ILEV cars.AKA White Sticker cars like my Fiat 500E, Tesla Model S, RAV4EV or Nissan Leaf.

The Golden Gate Bridge goes as far as actually stating the decal color and who gets what.

The other bridges - Dumbarton, Carquinez,San Mateo, Oakland-SF Bay Bridge use the more technical terms. This is why people are confused. It doesn't specifically say the color and they don't use the blanket term, "clean air decal qualifies." Rather, the pages are very specific to the rules that the benefits only extend to ILEV cars with decals.


All those pages have this which I highlighted.

So there you have it. All these bridges are operated by the Bay Area Toll Authority.
On their website,

  • The Bay Area Toll Authority grants reduced rate passage on the above bridges to inherently-low-emission vehicles with DMV-issued decals, such as electric cars, that use FasTrak® to pay the toll.
  • The reduced rate is the same as the reduced rate for high-occupancy vehicles and applies only during the hours when the reduced rate applies to high-occupancy vehicles.

So you can see, it is very clear what the rules are. ILEV cars like the Leaf and Fiat 500E get the discount. TZEV classified cars such as the Plugin Prius (PIP) are violating toll fare and those owners may not know it.

Both class of vehicles have the right to be in the Carpool lane but the problem is some of the toll lanes are physically isolated and the meter works on fastrak.  Once your Plugin Prius or Chevy Volt gets to the fastrak toll, you don't have the option of switching to the normal toll meter without breaking a lot traffic violations; going over white lines and physical obstructions. As the famous KRON reporter, Stanley Roberts would say, you'd be "Behaving Badly."

Monday, June 2, 2014

WWWDC 2014. Biggest take for me. Mail Annotations on OSX 10.10

From today's Apple's WWWDC conference. The biggest surprise to me today was the large file attachments and email annotation (aka Markup tools).

Seem very simple, huh?

Well, I work in the advertising industry; working with clients and various agencies across the world. This is exactly what they've been looking for. They deal with super large files. Other fields may be sending 2-5MB Excel attachments, but in creative media, they're sending large files either video or images. Have you ever seen a 2GB TIFF before? I've seen people try to send those large of files as attachments. And in the past 14 years of my life, I can tell you clients and vendors are always sending large attachments.  40 MB Attachments are the norm and they're always FTPing them, using box or some sharing service like yousendit. Yes, the dreaded email bounce back is a fairly common sight.

Also, many agencies use expensive markup tools. Some cost $60K to $300K. They have more advance collaboration features like real time markup, realtime zooming of large files over the network, and precise onsite monitor calibration. This is not the answer to those highly specialize workflows which are used 5% of the time. For the other 95% of the time where people are marking up PDFs and images, this solves it.  People use third party apps, some even use Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign to do mock-ups. But now, it is built into a mail client.

In the grand scheme of things, these are relatively small features and none of the tech blogs even picked up on this but I  sure did. Considering 98% of the creative agencies I've worked with, they all use Macs. This is a big deal for those users.