If you could design an ideal taxi for New York City, what would it include? That's the question NYC posed to car makers and designers when they offered a once-in-a-generation chance to design New York's Taxi of Tomorrow. The winning designer would be the sole manufacturer of the city's taxi fleet for a decade, in a contract estimated to be worth $1 billion in sales, according to the NY Times. Nissan won the design contest to create a custom-made cab just for NYC—a job not without its challenges. "Being French, I'm not germophobic in the least, but it was a very urban and derelict environment that we wanted to change," Nissan designer Francois Farion told the Times. Scouting reports from inside working cabs and post mortems on the auto-bodies of deceased cabs showed that cabs stink like ass and NYC streets are comparable to that of a third-world nation.
Nissan's answer to these challenges is the NV 200 and it looks like a regular minivan. But the NV 200 features fabrics and flooring made of anti-microbial materials that should cut down on foul smells. And there's a more pleasant sounding horn that threads the sonic needle between guttural screech and comically tinny. Some improvements were arrived at via input from the Design Trust for Public Space, such as,
· a legible roof light for clear communication
· flat floor for ease of entry and exit
· lights to indicate passenger exits for oncoming cyclists
· sliding passenger doors will not interfere with other traffic or street activity
· clear, panoramic sunroof
If you find yourself in a Nissan NV 200, please snap some pictures and send them to Curbed Tips! And since the Taxi of Tomorrow wil be a work in progress for the next 10 years, feel free to drop your suggestions for cab design improvements into the comments section.
· Painstakingly Reimagining City’s Cabs, Down to the Floor Mats [NYT]
· Taxi of Tomorrow: 2008-2012 [DesignTrust]