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The Great British Public Toilet Map

We all know how difficult it can be to find a toilet when away from home, but for some, such as older people, those with reduced continence due to a medical condition, or people with young children, this can be much more than an inconvenience. 

The Great British Public Toilet Map is the largest database of publicly accessible toilets in the UK. It displays information on 10,000 facilities, with data coming from local councils, private providers, OpenStreetMap and the public.

The project began as part of the TACT3 research project: researchers at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design interviewed more than 100 people of all ages, including those with reduced continence due a medical condition or medication, about their experiences of needing, finding and using public toilets.

This research was also instrumental in establishing a council standard for public toilet open data, with more than 80 UK councils now providing this information.

The Great British Public Toilet Map website was launched across the UK on World Toilet Day in November 2014, attracting national and regional press. The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design is now seeking further support from a consortium of partners to develop the website in order to meet its three aims:

1.     Increase people's everyday freedom through greater awareness and confidence in the availability of toilet facilities that meet their needs.

2.    Provide insights into the diversity and disparity of toilet provision in the UK.

3.    Communicate the need for a better, more inclusive, more transparent public service.

The Great British Public Toilet Map uses open data provided by local councils to give information about public toilets in the UK. It currently displays more than 5,000 toilets and also includes data on privately provided toilets that the public may use, such as those in train stations.The project demonstrates how valuable local open data can be to improving public service provision, particularly in combination with other data sources and crowdsourcing.