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Author Topic: Which states use what electronic toll technology.  (Read 20842 times)

Mdcastle

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Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« on: April 29, 2013, 10:04:00 AM »

Is there a list somewhere. It seems Minnesota chose a technology that is used in no other state (Wireless Telematics) from Israel.
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1995hoo

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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 10:17:19 AM »

Note that in all cases, there may still be toll facilities within given states that don't accept the ETC system in question. Also, in many cases some states have, or used to have, other ETC systems that are compatible with the better-known one named below (example: the LeeWay ETC system in the Fort Myers area is compatible with SunPass), and I haven't tried to list all the various compatibilities. Likewise, some states rebranded their systems (example: Virginia's "Smart Tag" became E-ZPass) and I haven't tried to list the old names.

E-ZPass: Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia; also the Peace Bridge's toll plaza is in Ontario but accepts E-ZPass

NC QuickPass: North Carolina (limited interoperability with E-ZPass if you get the hard-case unit; the sticker-type transponder isn't interoperable)

Palmetto Pass: South Carolina

Peach Pass: Georgia

SunPass: Florida; a couple of the causeways in the Miami area used an incompatible system called "C-Pass" that was supposed to be joining the SunPass network, but I don't know whether that actually happened

Freedom Pass: Alabama

MnPass: Minnesota

K-Tag: Kansas

Pikepass: Oklahoma

TxTAG: Texas

EXpressToll: Colorado

FasTrak: California

Good to Go!: Washington State

A couple of different ETC systems in Nova Scotia and PEI are compatible with each other but not with E-ZPass or other US-based ETC systems.


I'm sure there's something I've overlooked.
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 10:35:38 AM »

^^ Illinois has I-Pass, and is part of the EZ-Pass Consortium, but maintains the I-Pass name and branding.
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 10:43:22 AM »

LeeWay
SunPass
E-ZPass
QuickPass
Palmetto Pass
Peach Pass
C-Pass
Freedom Pass
MnPass
K-Tag
Pikepass
TxTAG
EXpressToll
FasTrak
Good to Go!

what a terribly stupid set of names.  random capitalization, dropped letters, weird jingoism, and even one with an exclamation point at the end.  the only ones that seem to be normal names are Palmetto Pass and Peach Pass.

here I thought web 2.0 services had a monopoly on stupid names (OKCupid, Tumblr, Joomla, etc) but this gang is even more consistently atrocious.
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 10:45:53 AM »

Wireless Telematics

now there's a name with some sense to it.  even if I don't know exactly what "telematics" are, I can hazard an educated guess.  if it were an American company, they'd promptly rename themselves to WiTelIX! or Poopf or something.
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 10:54:57 AM »

Wireless Telematics is apparently(?) the company that makes the transponders, not the brand name used for the public.

I was going to say that E-Pass (the name still used in Orlando for what's now interoperable with SunPass) is a reasonably-formatted name. But then I went to the official site and they like to capitalize it as E-PASS. Bleh. (And strangely the logo omits the hyphen.)
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 10:57:46 AM »

what a terribly stupid set of names.  random capitalization, dropped letters, weird jingoism, and even one with an exclamation point at the end.  the only ones that seem to be normal names are Palmetto Pass and Peach Pass.

here I thought web 2.0 services had a monopoly on stupid names (OKCupid, Tumblr, Joomla, etc) but this gang is even more consistently atrocious.

Heh, then you have visitors from countries where the "E-ZPass" name would be pronounced like "E-Zed Pass." Sounds a lot dumber that way, doesn't it?
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 12:34:40 PM »

LeeWay
SunPass
E-ZPass
QuickPass
Palmetto Pass
Peach Pass
C-Pass
Freedom Pass
MnPass
K-Tag
Pikepass
TxTAG
EXpressToll
FasTrak
Good to Go!

what a terribly stupid set of names.  random capitalization, dropped letters, weird jingoism, and even one with an exclamation point at the end.  the only ones that seem to be normal names are Palmetto Pass and Peach Pass.

here I thought web 2.0 services had a monopoly on stupid names (OKCupid, Tumblr, Joomla, etc) but this gang is even more consistently atrocious.

And what would you use as a name.  Remember - it has to be catchy, has to convey what it does, has to be easily remembered, and needs to be easy to post on signage. 

This goes for most services and products available for sale.  Most of them, you've never thought twice about because they've been around forever.  The products sold by Xerox, Bounty, McDonalds, Pepsi, Macy's, etc., all really have nothing to do with the normal meaning of the word...if the word had a meaning in the first place.
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 12:45:14 PM »

LeeWay
SunPass
E-ZPass
QuickPass
Palmetto Pass
Peach Pass
C-Pass
Freedom Pass
MnPass
K-Tag
Pikepass
TxTAG
EXpressToll
FasTrak
Good to Go!

what a terribly stupid set of names.  random capitalization, dropped letters, weird jingoism, and even one with an exclamation point at the end.  the only ones that seem to be normal names are Palmetto Pass and Peach Pass.

here I thought web 2.0 services had a monopoly on stupid names (OKCupid, Tumblr, Joomla, etc) but this gang is even more consistently atrocious.
ALL HAIL WEB 2.0

At last that's what government and corporations seem to be saying.  Organizations trying to jump on the internet bandwagon while not understanding it are always funny.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2013, 01:03:15 PM »

The list of brand names is good to have, but I was more interested in the underlying technology, like "State XX = 6C". The topic of toll interoperability has come up on a local message board since I'm not the only one pissed off that MnPass won't work in Chicago and I realized I'm pretty clueless as to what's states are theoretically compatible with each other.
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2013, 01:16:59 PM »

McDonalds and Macy's are named after their founders.  Bounty is a perfectly good English word.  Pepsi and Xerox are pretty silly, but they could be worse (Pepsi! and xERoX, anyone?)

most industries tend to have reasonable names.  large box stores, as one example, are places like Walmart (named after a guy, no SillyCapital in the middle), Target (perfectly good English word), Best Buy (sums up what they are going for quite nicely), Vons (named after a guy), Petco (again no SillyCapital).

E-ZPass could be rearranged quickly to EZ-Pass and it is instantly more normal-looking, although Easy Pass is grammatical and doesn't take up all that much more space.  LeeWay and SunPass could lose the internal caps and become Leeway (okay, no one knows what that is, so back to the drawing board) and Sun Pass (that'll do, pig).  FasTrak is just a corruption of Fast Track from the same mentality that brought you Miller "Lite".  EXpressToll looks like a typo, Freedom Pass asks if we want fries with that, and exclamation points in brand names are the result of a brand differentiation scientist being lazy.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2013, 01:19:13 PM by agentsteel53 »
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2013, 03:03:53 PM »

Part of the reason for coming up with goofy spellings or weird words has to do with trademark law. A mark that is merely "descriptive" is less likely to be granted strong protection under common law trademark principles than a mark that is "fanciful" unless the owner of the descriptive mark can show that it's obtained "secondary meaning" (and, even then, his trademark rights might not extend beyond the area in which he competes). The word "Xerox" has nothing to do with, well, anything, so it's more reasonably protected than a name like "Fred's Photocopiers" (because another guy named Fred might well be able to open an identically-named business elsewhere—indeed there was a lawsuit against a garage owner whose business was named Ed Sullivan's, and he won). The name "Easy Pass" isn't really creative in any way and could arguably be "merely descriptive" of any sort of system that speeds your way through any kind of barrier.

That's all vastly oversimplified, of course, but it's part of the reason for the dopey spellings and cutesy names.

(Wal-Mart's corporate name is actually written as I just spelled it; the branding of the stores as "Walmart" is more recent, as until the last few years many, perhaps most, were signed as "Wal[star symbol]Mart.")
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2013, 03:15:53 PM »

"Wal-Mart" with a hyphen is less objectionable to me than a hypothetical "WalMart" with SillyCaps.  I suppose the distinction between the possibilities (Wal-Mart, Walmart, Wal Mart, WalMart, Wal-mart Wal*Mart, Walmart!, WalmarT, etc) is a matter of personal preference.  I just think that internal capitals look patently stupid, as exemplified by a road in Santa Ana being called MainPlace Drive, because Main Street was apparently too descriptive and insufficiently fanciful. 

Initial caps on both halves of a hyphenated expression are grammatically well-established (see Winston-Salem, and even K-Mart, for example) so I don't see them as a problem, compared to mislocated hyphens (E-ZPass, as opposed to EZ-Pass) or SillyCaps, which is only grammatically legitimate when referring to Scottish plays.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2013, 03:23:14 PM by agentsteel53 »
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2013, 03:18:41 PM »

that said - are you saying that a solid name like International Business Machines is gonna suffer from trademark misuse because it doesn't appropriate some "fanciful" garbage in its spelling?

I should form a company called InternashnalBiz-NizMasheenz! just to test this hypothesis.
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2013, 03:29:58 PM »

In addition to TxTag, issued by TxDOT, Texas also has TollTag issued by the North Texas Tollway Authority and the all-caps EZ TAG issued by the Harris County Toll Road Authority.  The Laredo Trade Tag is not interoperable and is used only on international toll bridges.

The list of brand names is good to have, but I was more interested in the underlying technology, like "State XX = 6C". The topic of toll interoperability has come up on a local message board since I'm not the only one pissed off that MnPass won't work in Chicago and I realized I'm pretty clueless as to what's states are theoretically compatible with each other.

There's a map that's used in several articles on tollroadsnews.com.  Here's one: http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/6524
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2013, 03:40:58 PM »

what a terribly stupid set of names.

I'm sure these names will disappear in another decade or so. Remember when ATMs were new to most people—up to the late 80s or so—and every bank had their own stupid trademark for them? MAC was the big one in the Mid Atlantic, so well known that many middle aged and older people in that region still refer to ATMs as "MAC machines". But also I remember individual banks with oddball trademarks like "Bankability!" (complete with the exclamation mark), "Money Man II", and so on. Eventually, ATMs weren't so remarkable anymore and the trademarks disappeared.
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2013, 04:01:29 PM »

yes, I remember all the random logos like Star and NYCE that were more heavily promoted during the 80s.  I had no idea that their naming wandered into sillyland like that.

that said, despite all my attention, I still do not know what the difference is between an ATM card, a debit card, and a check card - or why any, or all, of those come with a credit card processing logo.  for example, why does my bank "debit card", which I do not use anywhere but at the ATM, have a Visa logo?
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2013, 04:23:47 PM »

that said - are you saying that a solid name like International Business Machines is gonna suffer from trademark misuse because it doesn't appropriate some "fanciful" garbage in its spelling?

I should form a company called InternashnalBiz-NizMasheenz! just to test this hypothesis.

No, not saying that at all. That's part of the reason why I said my comments were oversimplified. The name International Business Machines has undoubtedly acquired a strong secondary meaning (especially in the truncated form "IBM") such that if you took a survey (which is very common in trademark litigation), surely over 95% of the respondents would associate IBM with computers. A descriptive name can acquire distinctive meaning over time if people come to associate it with a particular company or product.

Likewise, a distinctive word can lose its trademark status if the mark's owner doesn't protect it. That's why Xerox ran those ad campaigns to get people to stop saying "go xerox this" and the like; it's also a reason why Johnson & Johnson changed the Band-Aid advertising jingle to say "Band-Aid Brand." Perhaps one of the best-known examples is Thermos. Thermos GmbH is a corporation, but they didn't take action to protect the name when other manufacturers used it to refer to their own insulated vacuum drink bottles, and in the 1960s the word "thermos" as to such containers was found to be a generic term (i.e., not one that can be trademarked) in the United States. However, Thermos GmbH still exists and makes other products, as to which they can still claim trademark protection in the Thermos name and logo (for example, they make a line of grills commonly used for football tailgates).

I'd suggest that the word "Kleenex" (a trademark owned by Kimberly-Clark) has probably become genericized because so many people use it to refer to facial tissues generally regardless of brand.

BTW, regarding the "Good to Go!" ETC system, I seem to recall that a few years back Taco Bell used that as an advertising tagline (Car and Driver promptly made fun of it by saying Taco Bell would make your digestive system "good to go"). I don't know if they ever tried to claim it as a slogan; if they did, that'd be an example of usage in a particular industry (fast food) that's not likely to be confused with another (ETC).

I've been surprised at how many blog comments and such I've seen in which people refer to E-ZPass as "Easy Pass" or the like.

But anyway, take California's "FasTrak" as an example. "Fast Track" is hardly a term that's ever likely to acquire the sort of distinctive meaning that lets you use it as a brand name. So they change the spelling under the theory that the name used in that form might acquire a secondary meaning associated with California's toll collection system.



yes, I remember all the random logos like Star and NYCE that were more heavily promoted during the 80s.  I had no idea that their naming wandered into sillyland like that.

that said, despite all my attention, I still do not know what the difference is between an ATM card, a debit card, and a check card - or why any, or all, of those come with a credit card processing logo.  for example, why does my bank "debit card", which I do not use anywhere but at the ATM, have a Visa logo?

A check card is basically a form of debit card that may be more widely accepted than just a debit card. For example, at many universities a student's meal plan is encoded on the student ID card. Sometimes you can just put a specific amount of money on the ID and use that to pay for your meals. That's an example of a debit card (because it "debits" your account for the amount of each purchase), but it cannot normally be used anywhere other than at that university. A check card got its name because it draws money from your checking account—instead of writing a check, you swipe your card. It then debits your checking account for the amount of your purchase. A lot of "check cards" have the VISA or MasterCard logo, meaning you can use them anywhere VISA or MasterCard are accepted, unlike a "debit card" that might be restricted to a particular place.

An ATM card is also a debit card. Once upon a time you were able to use a particular bank's ATM card only at that bank's ATMs; later certain ATM networks developed (you can sometimes see these logos on the back of your card, such as "Honor" or "Cirrus") to allow you to use your ATM card at other banks in the same network. The idea of the VISA or MasterCard-branded "check card" came later and allowed you to use your ATM card at stores, gas stations, etc.

I remember when Sovran Bank (one of the forerunners to Bank of America) had "Cashflow" machines and the ATM card had a "Cashflow" logo. You couldn't use it anywhere but Sovran Bank, or later NationsBank when they merged with NCNB and changed their name.

I almost never use my debit cards to pay for anything if I can avoid it, other than occasionally at the car wash (and that primarily because the car wash I use doesn't like my normal VISA card for some reason). I use American Express instead, pay it off at the end of the month as required, and accrue miles. It also makes keeping my bank account reconciled a lot easier. I used to use a debit card a lot and invariably the transactions all posted in a different order from the one I had recorded and it took forever to verify them every month.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2013, 04:26:03 PM by 1995hoo »
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2013, 04:35:17 PM »

But anyway, take California's "FasTrak" as an example. "Fast Track" is hardly a term that's ever likely to acquire the sort of distinctive meaning that lets you use it as a brand name. So they change the spelling under the theory that the name used in that form might acquire a secondary meaning associated with California's toll collection system.

lamentably, the only thing I imagine every time I see the word FasTrak spelled like that, is this cartoon.  so to me it is quite a failure as a brand.


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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2013, 04:41:26 PM »

Massachusetts used "Fast Lane".
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2013, 04:44:32 PM »

for a larger question... why is branding so important in this case?  it's not like one has a choice of which transponder to use to traverse a given road.  If I want to drive highway 73 down here in SoCal, I'm not going to think "ooh I wish this were a K-Tag road, because FasTrak totally ate my children a few weeks ago".
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2013, 05:22:31 PM »

Note that in all cases, there may still be toll facilities within given states that don't accept the ETC system in question. Also, in many cases some states have, or used to have, other ETC systems that are compatible with the better-known one named below (example: the LeeWay ETC system in the Fort Myers area is compatible with SunPass), and I haven't tried to list all the various compatibilities. Likewise, some states rebranded their systems (example: Virginia's "Smart Tag" became E-ZPass) and I haven't tried to list the old names.

E-ZPass: Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia; also the Peace Bridge's toll plaza is in Ontario but accepts E-ZPass

NC QuickPass: North Carolina (limited interoperability with E-ZPass if you get the hard-case unit; the sticker-type transponder isn't interoperable)

Palmetto Pass: South Carolina

Peach Pass: Georgia

SunPass: Florida; a couple of the causeways in the Miami area used an incompatible system called "C-Pass" that was supposed to be joining the SunPass network, but I don't know whether that actually happened

Freedom Pass: Alabama

MnPass: Minnesota

K-Tag: Kansas

Pikepass: Oklahoma

TxTAG: Texas

EXpressToll: Colorado

FasTrak: California

Good to Go!: Washington State

A couple of different ETC systems in Nova Scotia and PEI are compatible with each other but not with E-ZPass or other US-based ETC systems.


I'm sure there's something I've overlooked.

Nice list!  Which of these have the chance of interoperating sometime in the near future?
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2013, 08:14:12 PM »

Massachusetts used "Fast Lane".

And the ETC lanes used to have signs that said "Fast Lane - 15 mph."
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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2013, 09:01:30 PM »

OK, what's the deal with Alabama Freedom Pass? I haven't heard of it before, so I assume it's relatively new. I gather that it's based on RFID cards or a mobile app rather than a traditional transponder - more similar to the method of payment a lot of public transit systems now use, which is interesting.

But, the website for it looks more like it belongs in 1997 than in 2013 (insert joke about rednecks and technology here). All it's missing is a couple flashing gifs that say "NEW!" or "HOT!"

And puzzlingly, I can't find any of the roads it's said to be usable on (Montgomery Expressway, Emerald Mountain Expressway, Tuscaloosa By-Pass) on a map. Tuscaloosa By-Pass appears to be just a proposal, and the other two can't be found mentioned except on their own websites and in various other unuseful places such as Yelp. :crazy:

So, is this program even active yet, and if so are there any existing roads where it can actually be used?

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Re: Which states use what electronic toll technology.
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2013, 09:43:31 PM »

And puzzlingly, I can't find any of the roads it's said to be usable on (Montgomery Expressway, Emerald Mountain Expressway, Tuscaloosa By-Pass) on a map. Tuscaloosa By-Pass appears to be just a proposal, and the other two can't be found mentioned except on their own websites and in various other unuseful places such as Yelp. :crazy:
They're all toll bridges with free approaches, probably serving primarily commuter traffic.

Montgomery Expressway (AKA Alabama River Parkway): http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=32.436011,-86.315589&spn=0.033178,0.066047&gl=us&t=m&layer=c&cbll=32.435911,-86.315765&panoid=MS08hcxtreq3XHnNDpQvwg&cbp=12,40.88,,0,4.33&z=15

Emerald Mountain Expressway: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=32.433372,-86.124555&spn=0.016589,0.033023&gl=us&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=32.433372,-86.124555&panoid=ndvhx6c5b4vFDnAU3l5qkw&cbp=12,52.05,,0,2.46

Tuscaloosa Bip (AKA Black Warrior Parkway): http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=33.197076,-87.626481&spn=0.032895,0.066047&gl=us&t=m&layer=c&cbll=33.197454,-87.626612&panoid=Tf-2gOeW8fCyIbkW0z_MdQ&cbp=12,343.74,,0,1.17&z=15
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