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US airport set to trial ‘smart restrooms’

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has announced that it is set to commence on a pilot of a 'smart restroom' program in one if its terminal buildings. It will become the first airport in the world to install a restroom traffic management system that has been specifically designed to improve the cleanliness and flow of passenger movement in public restrooms at busy airports.

It has been disclosed that the technology which is patented will be initially deployed in American Airlines Terminal 4. The smart technology program is called Tooshlights and LAX is also partnering with Infax, which is a data-driven provider of IT solutions for airports and other public venues.

Its compatibility with Tooshlights provides Infax with real-time venue specific data that enables airport officials to track and monitor the occupancy usage of restroom stalls.

CEO at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Barbara Yamamoto expressed excitement in relation to the innovative project which she believes can solidify the LAX's position as one of world's best airports.

Yamamoto said, "We're incredibly excited to try out this new technology, which should help improve our guest experience and allow us to better monitor and service our restrooms. The desire for clean and available restrooms is consistently in the top ranks of what guests want at an airport, and this will help us provide a higher level of service to the traveling public and allow us to better meet our strategic goal of delivering facilities and guest experiences that are exceptional."

According to a comprehensive report entitled 'Airport Service Quality Survey' which was conducted by ACI (Airport Council International) the availability of washrooms/toilets is one of the top 10 most important items to all LAX guests in 2017.

It has been disclosed that the LAX 'smart restroom' pilot project of the Tooshlights system will consist of more than 20 smart restroom stalls that work similarly to parking garage lights. Each unit consists of a smart latch and indicator light. When the stall is available, the light is green. When the stall is occupied, and the smart latch activated, the light turns red. There are also blue indicator lights for ambulatory stalls.

Deputy executive director of the facilities and maintenance group at LAWA, Michael Christensen, said the integration of the cutting-edge technology will enable the airport to be able to respond quicker when issues surface.

He said, "The real-time data that we will be receiving through our new smart restroom technology will help us to respond quicker when issues occur, and gain baseline data for daily and weekly restroom usage, so we can better plan and deploy our resources, including custodians, and maintenance workers. Just like a physical traffic management system, these smart restrooms will allow us to do our job better and more efficiently."

If the smart restroom pilot is successful, LAX expects to expand the use of smart restrooms in Terminal 4 as well as throughout the airport.