TLC Puts Data Recorders and Cameras in 10 Cabs for Safety Tech Pilot

Image: TLC

The Taxi and Limousine Commission officially launched a pilot program Tuesday that outfits TLC-licensed vehicles with electronic equipment intended to promote safe driving.

For the Vehicle Safety Technology Pilot Program, TLC installed data recorders, driver alert systems, and cameras in 10 TLC-licensed vehicles, including yellow taxis, green cabs, and livery cabs.

Based on the TLC press release, it seems the data recorders will track the same information as a conventional vehicle “black box” — speed, acceleration, braking, and sharp turns. The alert systems “notify the driver” of “unsafe driving factors,” the press release says.

The Daily News reported last month that an avoidance system used for the program activates audible and visible warnings and vibrates the steering wheel when it detects a potential collision.

TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi was joined by City Council Member James Vacca in announcing the program.

“The VST Pilot Program will give us a bird’s eye view of what is actually happening on the road and the mere presence of a black box will keep drivers mindful of the responsibility they have behind the wheel,” Joshi said in the press release. “The data collected by this piloted technology will help the TLC and our industries reinforce good driving practices that will ultimately keep drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists as safe as possible.”

Vacca said the pilot, which as of now employs devices from two companies, will help determine which equipment will be best suited for future use.

We asked TLC if the agency will have ready access to “black box” data during the pilot, and how TLC plans to use the data in the event of a crash. We’ll update here if we hear back.

  • Jesse

    Correlations between crash rates and dangerous behavior: about 100%

    Do we really need a study for this?

  • WoodyinNYC

    Maybe we need similar measures on buses and garbage trucks. Just saying’.

  • stairbob

    But wouldn’t that hurt bus drivers feelings, if we asked them to drive safely?

  • com63

    I hope the cameras get rolled out system wide. I’m not so much worried about reckless driving by cabbies, but if we had a camera in every cab, so many accidents would be caught on video and the victims of those accidents would have an easier time getting justice.

  • Jesse

    Not to mention the fact that cabbies might drive more safely knowing that they will be accountable for speeding or failing to yield.

  • JK

    Gotta start somewhere, but ten cabs out of roughly ten thousand? Is this to test equipment or does TLC actually think this will produce useful data?

  • Joe R.

    Probably to test equipment. I’ve designed and built equipment for the taxi industry in the past. If there’s any one constant it’s that automotive environments are very hostile to electronics, particularly commercial environments like taxis. You need to roll out anything new incrementally. Ten cabs is a good start. If it works, increase that to 100 or 200 for a larger scale test. If that’s successful (and you should also have useful data with 100 to 200 cabs) roll it out to the entire fleet.

    Incidentally, I’m not involved (at the moment anyway) with this new project.