NYC’s mayor solicits new payphone design.

NYC payphone queue
NYC residents queue for payphones after Hurricane Sandy, 2012
New York City Mayor Bloomberg has published a request for proposal (RFP) for a new payphone design. When Hurricane Sandy killed other forms of communication, NYC residents learned

  1. Landline phones are reliable;
  2. Payphones are valuable assets.

“New York City is the most innovative city on earth – and constantly reinventing itself,” said Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer. “With the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge, we’re enlisting the thriving technology and academic communities to help shape the future of communications in New York City. This challenge is the first of its kind in the world, and provides a unique opportunity to set the bar for forward-thinking communications infrastructure. Together, we can build a brighter future for our city, and I encourage students, technologists and designers to help Reinvent Payphones in New York.”  

Today, there are more than 11,000 payphones on City sidewalks, down from a high of approximately 35,000 in the late 1990s. Once a primary means of communication for the public, the role of payphones has changed significantly over the last decade. While the widespread adoption of mobile devices reduces the overall need for payphones, not everyone owns a mobile phone and not everyone has connectivity at all times. Payphone availability remains critical in times of emergency, as seen by an increase in their usage after Hurricane Sandy, and Reinvent Payphones is an opportunity to shape the future design and functionality of payphones and their surrounding enclosures. In addition to the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge, various pilot programs are currently underway to test new services using extant payphone infrastructure, including digital advertising on phone kiosks around Times Square, interactive touchscreens around Union Square and free public Wi-Fi at 13 locations across the city.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695


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