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Toyota helps differently-abled find restrooms on the way

Published: May 17, 2015 | Toyota City, Japan

For wheelchair users and others with disabilities and/or special needs, certain aspects of traveling by car can be problematic and uncomfortable. Finding the nearest special needs restroom, for example, presents a challenge when planning a trip: what route should you take? When and where can you stop?

To help address this problem, Toyota is launching its newly-developed Restroom Finder app on May 21. The app, which works in conjunction with the Toyota T-Connect and Lexus G-Link telematics systems, lets users search for special needs restrooms located in rest areas on highways and public roads.

Restroom Finder provides detailed information about facilities, such as ease of access to the restrooms, and covers a wide variety of service areas, including Toyota’s own Welcab Stations. At present, the app offers information for three prefectures in the Tokai region (Aichi, Gifu and Mie). It also provides route guidance to facilities fitting the parameters within these regions.

The app can filter search results by facility type or user needs, including location of handrails or presence of care beds, diaper-changing tables, and ostomate facilities. Users can view detailed information on facilities that fit the search parameters and set them as destinations. In addition, even if a destination has already been set in the initial navigation screen, facilities can be added as en route stops or as additional destinations.

The non-profit Iseshima Barrier Free Tour Center was asked to supervise development of this app. Based on their interpretation4 of “personal barrier-free standards”, advice was sought on what type of information ought to be collected and provided, and the user-friendliness of the app.

From May 21 to 23, Toyota will exhibit Restroom Finder at the International Welfare and Health Industry Exhibition—Welfare 2015, in Nagoya.

Facilities covered by app

Facilities Special needs restrooms
Highway/roadside service areas 172 208
Welcab Stations 19 20
Total 191 228

Facility accessibility information provided by app

Basic information (opening hours, holidays, etc.)
Service station layout maps/plans
Number of disabled parking berths
Presence or absence of roofing over disabled parking berths
Location of special needs restrooms (inside and outside)
Ease of access between car park and special needs restrooms

Restroom accessibility information provided by app

Entrance steps (steps, slope, or no steps) e.g. 20 cm, two steps
Entrance door-type (automatic, sliding, or hinged)
Entrance width (narrower or wider than 80 cm)
Presence or absence of right-hand handrails; handrail type (L-shape, U-shape, or I-shape; fixed or movable)
Presence or absence of left-hand handrails; handrail type (L-shape, U-shape, or I-shape; fixed or movable)
Toilet type (barrier-free, etc.)
Presence or absence of backrest
Presence or absence of warm water shower-toilet
Presence or absence of warm water shower-toilet control panel; location of control panel (wall-mounted or next to the toilet seat)
Flush type (push, sensor, pedal or lever, etc.)
Presence or absence of facilities for ostomates
Presence or absence of care beds
Presence or absence of diaper changing tables
Presence or absence of emergency buttons

Source: Toyota

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