Senior Research Associate, The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art
Public toilet design is a life-long interest, and my work here has extended beyond physical design to include service models, levels of provision, information design, anonymity, access, communication, open data and inclusion.
My past research projects into public toilet design include ‘Tackling Ageing Continence through Theory, Tools and Technology (TACT3)‘ where I took part in the interviewing of 100 people of all ages, from children and the parents of newborns to those aged over ninety, many with conditions that affected their continence. about their experiences of needing, finding and using toilets when away from home. My analysis identified challenges in toilet data that made it difficult for apps and websites to include the information that people needed.
I created The Great British Public Toilet Map, an website and open dataset of 13000 publicly accessible toilets, to help people to plan journeys and find toilets that meet their needs. Originally made as a design output of TACT3, The Great British Public Toilet Map is now managed by Public Convenience Ltd, a spin-out toilet design, access and data company that I co-direct with Jo-Anne Bichard and Neontribe.
I was also the researcher on Robust Accessible Toilets (RATs) where I explored conflicts in design for inclusive yet secure public toilets. I wrote Publicly Accessible Toilets: An Inclusive Design Guide based on my research in the TACT3 and RATs projects.
I have carried out numerous research council and industry funded research projects with communities, organisations and the wider public. My full research profile can be found at https://www.rca.ac.uk/more/staff/gail-ramster/
I also manage TINKLE!
Publicly Accessible Toilets: An Inclusive Design Guide This practical guide, filled with real-world examples, aims to make toilets inclusive and accessible to more people. Based on research with 100 members of the public, as well as councils, manufacturers, community groups and people in retail and transport sectors.
Guidance on safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic – Includes information on toilet provision.
Ramster, G and Bichard, J (2018) How Inclusion can Exclude: The case of public toilet provision for women Built Environment Volume 44:1 pp. 52-76(25)
Bichard, J and Knight, G (2012) Improving public services through open data: public toilets Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Municipal Engineer 165:3, 157-165