Public payphones are at something of a crossroads these days. The technology is far more obsolete than the designs you'll find in a typical smartphone, but as a matter of public safety, they're still essential in emergency situations.
With that sort of thought process in mind, New York City opened up a design contest to update public payphones in the city to a more modern design. Six designs were chosen out of 125 submissions, and from there a winning design has been chosen. The NYFi public payphones from Sage and Coombe Architects was the winner of the public vote. The winning design is a double-sided, touchscreen public phone. They also serve as free public WiFi, transit pass dispensers, bicycle share stations and of course public payphones.
The next step for the smart public payphones is to get pitched to the city council for possible integration in the city for 2014.