Even in the shakiest of times, industrial design continues and designer Eva Toftum has put forth a concept which combines the mass transit attributes of a bus with the mobility of a taxi.
The Taxi Tokyo concept marries cab and bus in a way to maximize motive power. The base taxi can run about town, shuttling passengers like a traditional car, but when the situation presents itself, it can hook up to an awaiting bus frame with many more passengers and move them toward their programmed destinations. Pie in the sky? Yes. But it's also a novel approach to dense urban mobility.
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This concept is based on theories by Ford Motors, David Sperling and others, considering the future city and how the society has to deal with the great amount of new vehicles that put on the street everyday. Motorization is soaring everywhere, with the fastest growth occurring in Asia and Latin America. The number of motor vehicles other than two-wheelers in the world is expected to double in the next 15 years to 1.3 billion. One solution to the problem will be to revolutionize public transport and design for disassembly. Taxies, as we know them today, has no specific form or emotional design that shows its different purpose than a private car. Nevertheless the taxi works as a transport which is public, yet it creates a "private" public space.
After exploring researchers theories the scenario for developing a concept was: "The future city will be closed for private traffic, how should the taxi system work to maintain peoples personal freedom that the car gives today and at the same time be efficient, safe and environmental friendly?" Tokyo in Asia was chosen as the context due to its highly developed technology and its fascinating culture of public transport.
The Taxi Tokyo concept for the future city centre splits the taxi in two units: driver- and passenger unit of security-, efficiency- and environmental friendly reasons. In order to increase the efficiency in a safe manner, the passenger interacts with the computer in the passenger cabin when he pays for the trip and set the address of his desired destination. The first passenger entering the taxi can choose to let others join and share taxi. An interface on the back of the taxi display the destination and if its available for others. The driver picks up the passenger units, gets the destination information, take them to their destination and return with the empty unit to the central to pick up a new unit with passengers ready.
The passenger unit is stored at a central where you are allowed to enter and wait inside the wagon to get picked up by a driver. This results in an efficiency of the taxi line, creates a comfortable waiting room and a system for people to share taxies. The taxi driver is connected to the centrals and does not own the vehicle. His role is to drive the person to the address that the passenger has already paid for. He has the possibility to interact with the passenger through a monitor. The safety and personal freedom for the taxi driver and passenger is increased.