14 January 2011


A few years ago, New York City began a project to replace all the city's 13,000 taxis with new models which would be "safe, fuel-efficient, accessible, durable, and comfortable." Toward that end the city sent out a competitive request for proposals to automotive manufacturers and designers. The winner stands to gain a $1 billion dollar deal, supplying the city's taxies for the next decade.

None of the three design finalists appears to meet all the stated goals, and all three are pretty ugly. Only one is wheelchair-accessible. Artist and inventor Steven Johnson has offered a dozen of his own ideas, some whimsicle, some actually workable. I kinda dig the Smart Car option (see image below), though Johnson's drawing shows people to be much smaller than they really are, relative to the diminutive vehicle.

If you have an idea for a safe, environmentally-friendly design, it may not be too late to submit it. Mayor Bloomberg has said that if none of the current finalists pan out, they'll start the search all over again. Just keep in mind that your entry will probably appear in Chiquita yellow.

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