How the Taxi of Tomorrow Can Make Cycling Safer

Image: TLC
Of the three Taxi of Tomorrow finalists, the entry from Turkish manufacturer Karsan (left) is the one without sliding passenger doors. Image: ##

More than 13,000 yellow cabs ply NYC streets, carrying more than 600,000 passengers each day. That’s a lot of chances for a familiar risk to city cyclists — car doors opening in traffic.

The city’s Taxi of Tomorrow competition promises to select a single design for the entire yellow cab fleet. In the process, the cab door threat could be standardized out of existence (or at least drastically reduced). The competition is down to three finalists, and if you ride in the city, there’s one feature in particular that you may want to weigh in on: Whether the passenger doors slide open or open on a hinge.

The Design Trust for Public Space and the Taxi and Limousine Commission are asking New Yorkers to fill out a quick survey about what you want out of the next-gen taxi, which you can fill out here.

We checked in with the TLC, and two of the three designs — from Nissan and Ford — have sliding doors. The third finalist, from Turkish manufacturer Karsan, is the only vehicle designed specifically for the competition and has the aura of a plucky underdog, but the current design features hinged doors. A spokesman for the TLC said that the companies have yet to submit their best and final offers for the competition, so it’s possible the Karsan design can change before all is said and done.

The winning proposal will be announced in early 2011 and the new vehicle is scheduled to be on the road no later than the fall of 2014.