New York Rolls Out the "Taxi of Tomorrow"

May 5, 2011, 3:53 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

file

New Yorkers will soon be riding in style...and safety.

Many innovative safety and accessibility features have been added to what New York City has dubbed the “taxi of tomorrow”.

The Big Apple unveiled its model earlier this week. The new taxi will debut on the streets in 2013; an electric-powered version will be available by 2017.

The new model ran through enhanced National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests and boasts an interesting range of safety and accessibility features:

  • Passenger airbags work around the hard plastic partition that separates passengers from driver
  • Exterior lights turn on when a door is opening and a passenger is exiting or entering—alertingcyclists, pedestrians and other drivers
  • Sliding doors eliminate the danger of doors hittingpassing pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Built-in grab handles help passengers enter and exit safely
  • A “Honking Light” turns on when the horn is used, helping cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers visually notice cars that are alerting about danger
  • Phone charging stations for passengers are also included— helping keep mobile devices functional, an important consideration in case of emergency

Wheelchair versions of the new taxi — which will cost somewhat more than the standard model — will be designed with the help of the city’s Department For the Aging and are likely to include hand grips and a wider entrance into the passenger compartment of the taxi.

A spokesman for the International Association of Transportation Regulators tells NewPublicHealth that the cabs offer ideas to “health and social service agencies across the country who pay transportation costs for disabled, older and low-income clients”.

Weigh In: Has your community introduced new ideas to improve transportation and safety options?

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.