For a city like New York a little bit of space is worth a million. So what to do with outdated infrastructure that uses this little bit of space? An article in The New York Times refers to a design contest held by the city: what could the public pay telephones become now they’re not being used anymore?
Some winners of the contest focused on electric vehicles in their design. Since the phone booths are already supplied with telephone wiring and electricity, the idea of turning these into EV charging stations isn’t that far-fetched. Another, more simple, idea is to use these phone booths as a free library (picture above).
Nowadays, many of the telephone kiosks are used for outdoor advertising by Van Wagner Communications. Mark Johnston, the president of Van Wagner, said to The New York Times that turning phone booths into recharging stations is “an idea that’s been explored for years, and it’s one of many possible uses.”
Mr. Johnston also emphasized that conflicting city interests would make EV charging stations a challenge, especially because different agencies were responsible for the public sidewalk and the parking spaces that would be involved. “There are insurance questions, and questions about how long a car could park there,” he said. “It gets complicated very quickly.”
Besides the challenges that are involved in the re-use of some urban infrastructure, the idea to use phone booths, which already have an electricity connection and telephone wiring, for charging stations electric cars, is just great. Since electric vehicles could be the future of mobility, these charging stations have to be located in the city anyway.
Chief information and innovation officer and commissioner in the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Rahul Merchant, thinks as well that turning telephone kiosk into charging stations is “a great idea we should absolutely entertain.”