A few years ago, in 2007 to be exact, New York City officials set about reimagining the NYC taxi system from the ground up. The Taxi of Tomorrow project would eventually include new infrastructure and a new vehicle: the Nissan NV200 light commercial vehicle, which will be the next New York City taxicab for 10 years, beginning in 2013.
Taxi owners, drivers, passengers, and NYC residents will be able to kick the tires of the NV200 and smell (or, rather, not smell) the odor- and germ-reducing interior materials. Passengers may dig the rear seat's charging station that includes a 110V outlet and two powered USB ports or the enhanced lighting that includes reading and floor lighting, the latter of which should help with finding dropped wallets and cellphones. They may also want to try out the NV200's increased rear leg room over the Ford Crown Victoria model, as well as its vanlike luggage space.
Drivers and cab owners will want to check out the dual-zone climate control and new exterior lighting that includes the standard availability indicators and "trouble light" that silently notifies nearby police when the driver is in danger, but also adds a "horn light" to reduce horn usage and noise pollution and door lights that should warn others when a door is being opened. Rear sliding doors should also reduce collision danger to passing cars, pedestrians, and cyclists by protruding less than hinged doors. Increased fuel efficiency over the previous Crown Vics, GPS navigation, and more airbags (including partition airbags for rear passengers) should also be of interest.
The Taxi of Tomorrow Design Expo will be open to the public and runs November 1-5 on the pedestrian plaza across from the Flatiron Building at Broadway and Fifth Avenue.