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However, there are several voluntary guidelines with respect to margins; State

abbreviations; character fonts; character pitch, height, and height to width ratio; character and line skew; upper case characters; and line and character spacing. Also, while black ink on white paper is preferred, other color combinations are permitted (except for brilliant colors and reverse printing and any others that do not meet minimum reflectance standards).

The overall read rate could be improved by studying the rejected address and determining the cause(s). The most common causal factors could be mitigated by:

1. 2.

better enforcement of mandatory format requirements; improved compliance with voluntary format requirements, possibly through

incentives, and if necessary, mandatory; and/or

by making some voluntary requirements

3*

technical upgrades as discussed previously, so that the OCRs can read a wider variety of address characters and formats.

Postal research and development. The USPS record on postal automation R&D is mixed. On the negative side, USPS continues to underspend on R&D, despite repeated recommendations from congressional oversight committees and the Commission on Postal Service to raise postal R&D closer to private sector levels. Postal R&D was about $24 million in 1983, or about one-tenth of one percent (0.1 percent) of revenue. This

compares to a U.S. industry organization and management times, top-level commitment.

average of perhaps 3 percent.

Second, postal R&D

appear to have Third, despite

lacked stability, clear direction, and, at 20 years of USPS investment in optical

character recognition R&D, when USPS solicited manufacturers in

OCRs,

no

U.S.

manufacturer

was

judged

to

be

qualified.

All

1980 U.S.

for single-line manufacturers

previously market by

receiving USPS support for single-line 1980, in part due to USPS indecision on

OCR R&D had withdrawn an automation strategy.

from

the

30

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