Portable restroom and time: a challenge accepted

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The time of long, time-consuming lines outside women’s portable restrooms at events might be coming to an end. Here’s how.

Portable restrooms are a familiar sight during Summer. Festivals, parks, concerts, sports event: summer is a time for being outside and enjoying the outdoors. These are all cases in which portable restrooms are indispensable. But sometimes, more often than not, high-attendance means long queues, and so precious moments to be spent with family and friends are often spent in a line, awkwardly avoiding our neighbour’s impatient look. In these cases, the trip to the portable toilet areas becomes a nuisance, more than a welcome service.

Portable toilets: a time consuming affair for women

This is all the truer when we consider that women tend to spend an average of 3.39 minutes in the toilet, whereas men get away with a less traumatic 57 seconds. The length of the lines in front of the ladies’ is often proof to this phenomenon. These data caught our attention, as we started wondering about the reasons behind such disparity. Well, researchers agree that one of the determining factors that make women spend far more time than men using toilets is design. What it means is that women will spend time making sure not to touch anything, covering the seat with paper, holding on to their belongings and dealing with several strata of clothes at once. Men, on the other hand, benefit from the widespread use of portable urinals during public events, which better fit their needs and make for an overall faster experience. The issue does not concern only events and portable restrooms, but it has become a talking point concerning equal opportunities, for example in the workplace.

Rethinking portable restrooms’ design: Hergo

This got us wondering. What if we could design a portable restroom that would take this difference into account, and turn it into a new experience for all users, women AND men?

Hergo is precisely the answer to this challenge. We have looked at the needs of female users, particularly at the most time-consuming factors, and we have changed things so as to make them easier for them. We have added a coat hook, to safely hold clothes, purses, but also tool-belts and helmets; we have designed a new seat based on the angle most commonly adopted by women during urination in public restrooms, and discovered that it solves many of the hygienic worries men also share. We have found more space there where usually there is very little, by carving two niches into the traditional tank so as to comfortably accommodate legs at a squatting angle. Little changes destined to make a difference. In, and of, time.

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