As the Covid-19 pandemic begins to hopefully lose some of its momentum, having now been over a year of lockdowns, isolation, quarantines, Zoom calls, Netflix binging, and what seems to be relentless news about vaccines, infection rates, and ICU overload, people’s minds and hearts are turning towards the dream of traveling.
Wouldn’t it be nice to roll around the streets of Barcelona, eating tapas, and taking in the Spanish sun? Or how about a trip to Paris? Or Mexico? Costa Rica?! . . . Anywhere.
With travel beginning to open up, many of us are looking abroad for a change of pace, a change of mood, and a change of scenery, so that the last year and a bit can be put behind us.
Being able to travel is a privilege, and, for wheelchair users, it also requires careful planning around accessibility, especially toilets.
What is an accessible toilet?
An accessible toilet is a toilet that has been designed to accommodate people living with physical disabilities, including, but not limited to, wheelchair users, people with reduced mobility, people with weak legs, people with multiple limb amputations, and people experiencing a variety of other circumstances.
Certain measures are taken in order to make a toilet more accessible, and there are many different reasons why people may be in search of an accessible toilet. Moving the world toward universal design will continue to take ingenuity, commitment and curiosity, so that improvements can be made. What works for one person may not work for another, and the one-size-fits-all approach certainly has not worked up to this point - just like in fashion.
Some desirable features when it comes to accessibility in the “loo” are:
- A small footprint (requires less square footage of the available floor space
- Wall-hung so that the water tank is hidden
- Grab bars
- Safety rails
- A bidet
- Compatibility with other toilet accessories and equipment
- Sliding doors
- Slip-resistant flooring
How to find an accessible toilet anywhere
With all of this in mind, recognizing the need for an easy way to find an accessible toilet on the go, Mirjam Versteegh, owner of an accessible travel agency called Disabled Accessible Travel, based out of Barcelona, Spain, has created a user-based content application called Accessaloo.
Describing the app, Mirjam had the following to say:
“Accessaloo is a user-based content application to help users find, add, and share accessible toilets on the go. No uploaded databases, but user-generated as we truly believe there is a gap in the, correct and validated, information availability about accessible toilets worldwide. This means we are spreading the word, and looking for collaboration and ambassadorships who help us bring the message . . . As my motto is: imagine if everyone would only add 5 toilets in his/her own community…”
Yes… imagine that.
If every person would add only 5 toilets in their community, this application would very quickly have a robust user-generated database of accessible toilets around the world so that a person in search of one could just open the app, and find the closest one on a map, based on their location.
Accessaloo is also part of ENAT, the European Network for Accessible Tourism.
Help now by downloading the accessible toilet app
You can download the app here:
Sharing accessible bathrooms everywhere
Once you download the app, you can start adding a loo near you! Users can upload pictures of the accessible toilets in their communities, rate the loo, easily select, and therefor list, the facilities available, including:
- Whether the toilet requires a key to enter
- The accessibility of the main entrance, and whether there is a ramp, and/or a manual/automatic door
- The toilet entrance door width
- Whether it allows for a right or left handed transfer
- Whether it allows for a full turning circle in the available space
- Horizontal and vertical grab bar availability
- Availability of an alarm cord
- Whether or not there is a lowered hand wash basin, and whether it allows for chair/leg room beneath
- If there are changing facilities available
It’s functional and easy to use, and you can write your review, helping users around the globe to know exactly what they will be getting into.
It’s no question that an application like this, if everyone pitches together and starts sharing what they can, encouraging the restaurant and small business owners in their communities to also share about the accessible toilets within their operations, that traveling, when it finally happens, will be a little easier to plan, making finding an accessible toilet one less thing to worry about.
Follow Accessaloo on Facebook here.