The New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department has upheld the legality of the City's Taxi of Tomorrow program, thereby reversing the New York Supreme Court's October 2013 decision which determined that the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission had exceeded its authority by mandating that the Nissan NV200 be the "official taxicab vehicle" for all unrestricted medallion holders.
“This is a victory for riders and drivers comfort and safety, for the City as a whole, but also for thoughtful and user-centered design," says Susan Chin, our executive director. "We’re excited to see the ‘future streets’ of NYC completely transformed with one entire fleet of taxi cabs. At Design Trust, we’re committed to turning ideas into actions and will continue our collaborative work to improve public space.” Read the full press release (PDF).
The Taxi of Tomorrow program was launched in 2008 by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to pursue the creation of a new iconic taxi for New York City. Unlike current New York taxis – which are regular passenger cars retrofitted to be taxicabs with no safety guidelines or crash regulations governing how this is done, and with metal and plexiglass partitions between front and back seats installed after the vehicles are purchased, thus weakening the vehicle's structural integrity – the Nissan's NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow is purpose-built, with several pre-installed safety features, including a partition is now part of the vehicle's basic structure and does not interfere with side air bag deployment.
Writing for the majority opinion, New York State Appellate Division Judge David B. Saxe says: “We hold that the iconic ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ – the Nissan NV200 – developed and implemented by New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) after years of public vetting, is a legally appropriate response to the agency’s statutory obligation to produce a twenty-first century taxicab consistent with the broad interests and perspectives that the agency is charged with protecting.” Read the full decision (PDF).
The Design Trust has played an instrumental role in reaching this historic moment for New York City. Taxi of Tomorrow would not have been possible without our pioneering efforts beginning in 2005 to bring design innovation to the NYC taxi system [Taxi 07: Roads Forward] and the vehicle [Designing the Taxi, Taxi 07]. We continued to work towards implementation of our recommendations by serving as an advisor to the TLC on the Taxi of Tomorrow Request-for-Proposals, producing an interactive passenger survey, and serving as a design advisor to the development of the NV200 vehicle from 2011-13. In addition, we testified in front of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and the Transportation Committee of the New York City Council in support of Taxi of Tomorrow, and most recently, spearheaded the amicus brief submitted to the New York Supreme Court.
We hold that the iconic ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ – the Nissan NV200 – developed and implemented by New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) after years of public vetting, is a legally appropriate response to the agency’s statutory obligation to produce a twenty-first century taxicab consistent with the broad interests and perspectives that the agency is charged with protecting.