Since 2008, the New York Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) has been seeking the “Taxi of Tomorrow.” The Big Apple is looking for ideas on how to upgrade its existing taxi fleet to “more appropriately reflect the needs of its diverse stakeholders – passengers, drivers, owners and NYC residents.” The official request-for-proposals (RFP) closed on May 27 and the winning design is set to be announced sometime in October.
I recently had a discussion with CEO and founder of the Australian company Unicar, Chris Burrell, about his role in the competition. His team's new design is all about integrating accessibility for people with disabilities, function, biofriendly mechanisms, and usefulness in situations of mass casualty for hospital transport.
Their base versions will be high-occupancy vehicles (ie, 7 seaters) and driven by a low-emission Flex-Fuel engine able to operate on either biofuel mix or LPG. Unicar estimates that by 2011, as the technology becomes available, they be fully hybrid electric vehicles.
On a daily basis there are stories of women giving birth in and patients arriving to New York City Emergency Departments by way of a yellow cab. The changes that Unicab has instituted would allow for more space, even large enough to transport gurneys in case of a mass casuality event. Cab drivers will be required to be trained in CPR and AED's will be incorporated into the vehicles in case of cardiac arrest.
Utilitization of Taxi's in medical transport could be beneficial to all New Yorkers and the millions of tourists who visit each year.
Check out all the designs at www.taxioftomorrow.com