Today, New Yorkers can hail Nissan's NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow – a safer, more comfortable, user-friendly taxi designed and engineered especially for them. This would not have been possible without the pioneering efforts of the Design Trust.
The Taxi of Tomorrow is the result of a groundbreaking series of strategic, design-driven initiatives, ranging from our innovative workshops and sweeping exhibition of vehicle prototypes, to the first strategic plan for the NYC taxi system. From spearheading the amicus brief, to testifying in front of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and the Transportation Committee of the New York City Council in support of the Taxi of Tomorrow, Design Trust has played an instrumental role in reaching this historic moment for New York.
In early 2008, as a direct result of our Taxi 07 project, initiated by Paul Herzan of the Lily Auchincloss Foundation in partnership with the Design Trust for Public Space, the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission launched the Taxi of Tomorrow competition to pursue the creation of a new iconic taxi for New York City. This international competition called for a purpose-built vehicle with superior safety and environmental standards, reduced vehicle and lifestyle costs, enhanced ride quality, improved durability, and accessibility. The Design Trust served as an advisor to the TLC on the development and implementation of the Taxi of Tomorrow program and then as a design advisor to Nissan on the development of the vehicle.
Following the goals the Design Trust identified in Taxi 07: Roads Forward, the Taxi of Tomorrow competition called for a purpose-built taxicab with increased safety and environmental standards, reduced vehicle and lifestyle costs, iconic design elements and enhanced ride quality, durability, and accessibility. After TLC narrowed down competition finalists to Ford, Karsan, and Nissan, the Design Trust worked with the agency to roll out an interactive public survey in October of 2010, asking every taxi passenger which features were most important to them. Over 23,000 New Yorkers participated in the survey, incentivized by the opportunity to win a year of free taxi rides, a prize sponsored by the Design Trust.
In May 2011, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that the NV200, designed by Nissan North America Inc., was the winner of the Taxi of Tomorrow competition. Recognizing the Design Trust's pioneering role to bring innovation to the New York City taxi vehicle, Nissan engaged the Design Trust as a design advisor to the development of the NV200. Over the next two years, Deputy Director Megan Canning attended all key design reviews at Nissan's design headquarters in San Diego, CA and test runs of the new taxi in NYC. Smart Design Founder and CEO Davin Stowell also served as an outside design advisor on the project, creating the updated NYC taxi identity and iconography and providing significant pro-bono support to Nissan and the City of New York.
With the NV200, every taxi driver and passenger will enjoy superior safety, increased comfort and amenities, and improved durability—a tremendous improvement to transportation in the city. Many of the features of the NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow were first proposed by the Design Trust (starting with our 2005 exhibition and publication "Designing the Taxi" and then developed further for our 2007 exhibit at the NY Intl. Auto Show) including: