Who still uses pay phones anyway? New York City has announced a new plan to transform public pay phones into giant 311 touchscreens. The new iPad-like screens will provide information, emergency alerts, and local business deals, including coupons that can be downloaded to smartphones. In the event of a Hurricane Sandy–like disaster, the screens become distress devices that will allow citizens to call for help. Some of the screens are already active, and the city plans “a couple of installs per day” with the eventual goal of 250 screens throughout the five boroughs. And to deter potential vandals, a spokesman for the project said that the screens were “over-engineered for a reason” and that they can be easily sprayed clean.
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