In honor of the 100th anniversary of the modern-day taxi in New York City, the all-new Kia Rondo crossover is among the vehicles to be reinvented into an iconic yellow cab, as part of Taxi ’07, a project of the Design Trust for Public Space. This new collaborative process is intended to engage design professionals in fundamental civic planning.
Automakers were challenged to incorporate practical solutions into their taxi prototypes, addressing areas such as partitions that incorporate passenger services, roof lights with improved legibility, integrated child safety seats, wheelchair accessibility and fuel efficiency.
The all-new Kia Rondo, which offers innovative design, packaging and driving dynamics, provides both drivers and passengers with a spacious, comfortable and safe ride while occupying a small footprint – an ideal combination for New York City streets. Not only is Rondo’s footprint smaller than the Ford Crown Victoria, NYC’s leading taxi, it is also more fuel-efficient.
Kia Motors America (KMA) collaborated with a consortium of NYC-based design firms led by Smart Design to build two Ron do taxi prototypes. Both vehicles were built to be safer, more accessible and more efficient than a conventional cab. The design solutions developed by Smart Design, along with Antenna Design and Birsel + Seck, have greatly improved the user experience for both the passengers and driver.
Antenna Design worked to create a more legible taxi roof light, which quickly communicates the cab’s availability status in a variety of lighting situations. Smart Design with Birsel + Seck designed an interior space that keeps the driver’s belongings organized and accessible, and installed an L-shaped partition to protect the driver while creating a more open social environment for the passengers. A Bruno motorized front passenger seat for those with limited mobility as well as an integrated, fold-down child seat were added for extra passenger accessibility, comfort and safety.