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Public Toilets Research Unit

How can we design better, more inclusive public toilets?

The Public Toilets Research Unit (PTRU) undertakes inclusive and people-centred design research to improve toilet provision for all.

We undertake knowledge exchange activities to share research with fellow researchers, sanitation and built environment professionals and interested members of the public. The PTRU holds expertise across many aspects of public toilets including: inclusive design, accessibility, built environment, standards and guidance, equality and equity of provision, public service design and open data for social good. 

Our approach includes the use of participatory design, qualitative research methods and interdisciplinary research teams. Our outcomes focus on real world impact through policy and industry, public engagement and spin-out innovation. 

New Research

The PTRU has a pipeline of new research proposals covering existing and emerging specialisms within The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, such as inclusive design, service design, enabling communities, social equity, citizen science and machine-learning.

This builds on 30 years of public toilet research experience held by the researcher team, funded by cross-Research Councils UK (RCUK) funding, charitable trusts and public sector organisations. 

Knowledge Exchange Platform

A new knowledge exchange platform is in development to bring together existing information and research on toilet provision and design (architecture, service and product), including the PTRU’s project outputs. This aims to reach beyond academia to practising architects and designers, business, public sector, third sector and communities, to identify and develop solutions for inclusive, sustainable toilet provision.

Past Projects

Public Toilets Research Team

Professor Jo-Anne Bichard
Professor of Accessible Design

Gail Ramster
Senior Research Associate


[email protected]