New UTS research “lifts the lid” on how wheelchair users access public bathrooms

Association of Consultants in Access of Australia
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Access Insight - The Magazine for the Association of Consultants in Access Australia, 2023, 2023/2024, (Summer), pp. 8-13
Issue Date:
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Public bathrooms are important places. The provision of accessible public bathrooms helps to ensure health, wellbeing and equitable access to our cities, public spaces, and communities. However, the real risk of falling off the toilet pan while reaching for toilet paper and avoiding public bathrooms altogether are two preliminary findings from a new research project “An Inclusive and Embodied Approach to Accessible Bathroom Design for Powered and Manual Wheelchair Users” by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Disability Research Network and industry collaborators Farah Madon & Mark Relf in partnership with Spinal Cord Injury Australia and Physical Disability Council NSW. The new project explores how accessible bathrooms are used by wheelchair users (both manual and power chair). It also looks at the effects of the Australian Design for Access and Mobility design code (AS1428:1) on public bathroom design. The design code takes a prescriptive approach to public bathroom design while making many assumptions about how wheelchair users access the toilets including how they use, approach and transfer onto the toilet pan. Most often, wheelchair users are considered as a single homogenous user group.
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