Okay, maybe not today exactly, but the MTA is unveiling the new R160 cars for public inspection in a couple of weeks:

See tomorrow’s train technology today and give us your input. On Tuesday, November 29 the New Technology Train (R160) will be parked at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street station in Downtown Brooklyn on the A C G. From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. NYC Transit research personnel will be there to take your comments on FIND the Flexible Information and Notice Display on-board on the R160. Be there. Don’t miss this chance to tell us what you think.

This order of cars has been rumoured forever-- and has also been the source of some headaches for the MTA. But back in 2002, when the $1 billion dollar (!) R160 order was announced, the MTA said:

The base order of 660 cars will replace equipment in service since at least 1964, including R40, R42, R38 and R32 car classes. These cars are currently running on the A, C, E, J/Z, L, M, N and Q lines. Alstom will assemble the new R160 cars at its manufacturing plant in Hornell, New York. Kawasaki will assemble the R160 cars at its plant in Yonkers, New York.

The stainless-steel R160 cars will be configured in five-car units, and equipped with several hi-tech customer amenities, including state-of-the art air-conditioning systems. Like the R142/142A and R143 cars currently in service, the R160s will have bench-style seating with lumbar supports, electronic strip maps and signs that display route and station information, final destination, next stop, and time of day.

Additional features include lighted arrows indicating which side the doors will open and a “Passenger Emergency Intercom” to allow passengers to communicate with the train operator or conductor in the event of a passenger emergency. The cars also have increased soundproofing and an air bag suspension for a quieter, smoother ride.

The R160s sound pretty similar to the very cool R143s that are already in service-- but we're hoping that some new bells and whistles have been added to spice up our daily riding experience. How about a map that tells how long it will take to get to stops further down the line? Or anti-bacterial poles? Let's help the MTA think outside the box-- what are you most-desired features? [Semi-related: Metrocard Orgami, Kottke on the HK metro system.]