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mock-up test of two train toilet modules

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Marian Loth
added 2 research items
Train toilets are perceived to be dirty and as a consequence train travelers rate the toilet as insufficient. While the train toilet is mainly used to urinate it is for men impossible to keep the train toilet clean without spilling urine outside the bowl while standing. This causes women to hover while urinating and as a result they add to the soiling of the train toilet, by spilling drips over the seat. A 'hygienic train toilet' will make train travel more attractive, and it can remove one of the obstacles to travelling by train, particularly for the elderly and families with young children. A possible solution to improve hygiene in the train toilet is splitting its interior based on the posture while urinating. Accordingly, a toilet with two modules was designed: One for urinating standing and the other for the seated or hovered toilet use which was 'inclusively designed', thus the interior is enhanced with adaptations such as toddler platforms, a diaper changing table, extra support and enough space for wheel-chair manipulation. The observation and questionnaire both with 26 users of 3-68 years old (some wheel chair users) showed that the mock-up of the train toilet indirectly scored a 7.1 on a 10 point scale (1= very bad, 10= very good), but there is room for improvement, for instance a sanitary waste bin, an extra support bar on the left side of the toilet and a toddler platform under the urinal were lacking.
This paper presents the results of a study about hygiene in train toilets. The central problem is that with the existing train toilet design and the different groups of users it is impossible to keep the train toilet clean. In a conventional train, it is especially difficult for men to urinate without spilling urine outside the bowl while standing. This, sometimes invisible spray of urine drops on the toilet seat, smells strongly and feels wet. Therefore women and men are reluctant to sit on the toilet seat. It also causes women to hover while urinating and as a consequence they add to the soiling of the seat. To break this negative spiral, the solution for experiencing better hygiene in a train toilet is to divide the train toilet into two separate modules: a urinal for men (standing) and a family seated toilet for others.