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Toyota App Helps Drivers Find Restrooms for All Needs
17 May, 2015

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 Stations2. 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 Center3 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

In addition to the above, the app also provides data on convenience stores (1,837 locations). However, detailed data regarding convenience store restrooms is not available.

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

1In this case, a restroom that can be used by a wide variety of people, including wheelchair users and others with disabilities, senior citizens, and people with children.

2A Toyota dealer with a dedicated space for specially equipped Welcab vehicles. Welcab Stations meet universal design standards and employ a resident Welcab consultant—a professional who combines expert knowledge and experience in the field of welfare mobility.

3The Iseshima Barrier Free Tour Center is a non-profit organization that researches and distributes information about special needs tourism in Mie Prefecture and runs a consultation service for tourists. It was established in 2002 as Japan\'s first such tourist center.

4Standards defined not by the presence or number of facilities but by "the types and expectations of holidaymakers". This has been set as a nationwide standard by the "Japan Barrier-Free Tourism Promotion Organization."