New signage cuts down on bathroom wait times

| March 4, 2017

Everyone’s been there: the interminable bathroom line that snakes around concert venues, sport arenas, and other large gathering spaces. Tooshlights, a California-based startup, is hoping to cut down bathroom wait lines at public spots such as these by up to 50 percent, with a new LED sign system, reports Forbes.

The idea is simple. The Tooshlight features a modified locking mechanism as well as a light which responds to the lock’s position. Above each bathroom stall, a light will glow green or red to show those waiting in line whether the stall is free (green) or being used (red).

From Lauren Manning.

Tooshlights let patrons know which stalls are available. From Lauren Manning.

As Allen Klevens, co-founder and CEO of the company, explained to Forbes, “During a 20-minute intermission [at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles], mostly at the women’s restrooms, there were lines that would go all the way out the door.” Yet, he notes, “there were stalls in the middle that were completely vacant and nobody knew,” because the doors did not function properly or because people didn’t notice they were unoccupied.

Responding to a visitor complaint about the long bathroom lines, the Hollywood Bowl approached Klevens for a solution. The Tooshlights concept itself was inspired by certain parking garages which alert drivers to empty spaces via LED signs, though, as Klevens told Forbes, “We don’t park cars. We park, um, other things.” The lighting system will be available in between 1,500 to 2,000 stalls by the year’s end, with an additional 500 stalls being added monthly next year.

The Hollywood Bowl recently installed the Tooshlights system in one of its women’s bathrooms. A spokesperson for the venue told Forbes that bathroom wait times have been reduced, though specific numbers are not yet available. As the spokesperson said, “Women seem to love it.” Plus, “Tooshlights help with privacy as well, as patrons do not have to check under the stalls for feet or push on the doors to see if a toilet is available.”

The company is currently liaising with venture capitalists to raise money. It will install a second-generation system in certain NHL, NFL and NBA stadiums. There is potential for customization, too. New features of the product will flash various colors, such as a sports team’s, whenever it scores a point. The lighting system can also amass information on bathrooms usage. As Forbes points out, a non-stop green light among consistently red lights may alert the maintenance workers to clean or fix a given toilet.

The company is also working on a “software component that can be piped into a venue’s app, showing where the shortest lines are around the facility. As you might expect, it also monitors use, alerting staff that a toilet being avoided at halftime may be in need of attention,” notes blog EnGadget.

As Klevens explained to radio station 89.3 KPCC, “We’re conquering—whether it’s stadiums, arenas, college, NBA, NHL, libraries, airports, convention centers.”

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Category: Restrooms

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