Government Technology

New York Invites Design Ideas for Payphones



December 6, 2012 By

At a New York Tech Meetup event on Dec. 4, Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a challenge to attendees via video message, the latest attempt by city leadership to enlist citizen participation in technology initiatives. “Re-Own the Phone,” Bloomberg beckoned, asking for ideas on how to re-invent payphone sites and their surrounding enclosures.

In recent months, Government Technology has reported on different NYC pilot projects aimed at injecting modernity into its dwindling payphone inventory. Interactive smart screens featuring neighborhood-specific information now adorn some phone booths, while others now act as Wi-Fi hot spots.

City officials report that even though the current inventory of more than 11,000 payphones is substantially less than the 35,000 of the mid-1990s, they still provide a vital function to citizens in this largely digital world.


 

“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,” reads a press release issued by the city in announcing the “Reinvent Payphones” initiative.

Usage of New York City payphones surged during superstorm Sandy, when cell reception was severely impacted. The existing contract between New York City and a private contractor to operate the city’s payphones expires in October 2014.

“We’re asking our tech community for new takes on older technology, and inviting designs about how they might enhance the vitality of our public spaces,” said Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Rahul N. Merchant.


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Comments

duh moment    |    Commented December 10, 2012

there are new and innovative payphone designs all over the world, why does a city barely able to pass a budget and with more important things to be troubled with waste time and money resources on this. get a small committee together, get a list of phones, find the ones with the best features, pick one.

Dave    |    Commented December 10, 2012

You must be new to how democrats run governments.

DMc    |    Commented December 11, 2012

Sorry Dave... Bloomberg isn't a Democrat.


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