A public inconvenience: Better toilets for inclusive travel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This coproduced study drew on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to inform a Human Rights-based design. Using photographic images and reflective diaries, twelve participant co-researchers investigated the quality of public toilets when travelling in Scotland for people with dementia and other physical and cognitive impairments. Data were analysed using constant comparison and critically reflexive, group enquiry to produce contextualised evidence of toilet utility from the user perspective. Essential themes revealed major challenges associated with toilet accessibility, usability and design, emphasising the distressing sensory experience of the user when confronted with an inadequate or inaccessible toilet. Substantial overlap in needs was demonstrated but a few unique requirements aligned with specific disabilities were recorded for attention. Our findings highlight two key issues: 1) existing Standards are often unmet; 2) current Standards require review and endorsement by people who represent the full range of access needs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Society
Early online date17 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jan 2021


  • public toilets
  • accessibility
  • dementia
  • physical and cognitive impairments
  • human rights
  • coproduction


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