This design project rethinks the London Black Cab for the 21st century, and engages with Londoners to seek their views and understand their needs.
At a glance
- Based at the Royal College of Art in the Vehicle Design programme and the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design’s Age & Ability Research Lab, aiming for production by 2016.
- Working with Studio Hexagon and vehicle company Karsan based in Turkey, the brief is to produce an original, purpose-built vehicle that satisfies the requirements for both low emissions and the regulations associated with the London taxi whilst meeting the aspirations of drivers and passengers of all ages and abilities.
- The starting point was Concept V1, a prototype taxi with a large, airy interior that is lightweight in construction able to use a variety of power plants including full electric.
The current London cab is one of the few purpose-built taxis in the world but the design is over two decades old. It needs modernisation, fresh thinking, a new approach to interiors utilising advances in materials, construction techniques and technology. An inclusive design approach will be used to underpin the approach and produce a well-researched and validated solution.
Five key areas are being looked at:
- The driver area (making it more comfortable and functional)
- Passenger environment (increasing flexibility and designing it for short journeys)
- The driver interface (incorporating new technology)
- Iconic look (important for drivers and tourists)
- The door aperture (many travellers found access difficult).
Each of these areas will involve a series of iterative loops spanning literature review, people-centred research and idea generation to develop new ideas based working with taxi drivers and passengers. The taxi is the driver’s workspace where they spend long hours but the current driver environment does not provide the necessary comfort and amenities. In contrast, passengers only spend a short time in the cab and therefore have different physical, mental, visual and cognitive needs. Central to the study will be co-creation workshops and events with Londoners.