NS unveils new train with toilets designed at TU Delft

News - 30 August 2016

On Tuesday 30 August, Dutch passenger railway operator NS introduced a new train model containing a new toilet design developed by TU Delft doctoral candidate Marian Loth from the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. The design is unique in that, in addition to a normal toilet, the cubicle also contains a urinal for men. This ensures that the toilet bowl stays cleaner and makes trips to the toilet more pleasant for both women and older people. “My objective is to create a hygienic toilet that people are happy to use,” says Loth.

Marian Loth has been conducting research into train toilets for several years. Her research shows that 85% of men stand while using the toilet on a train. She also looked into how the toilet seat gets dirty when users urinate standing. She used paper to make the invisible dispersion of urine visible. This led her to focus on designing a urinal in addition to the usual toilet bowl. "The challenge was helping men to aim properly. This in turn depends on their bladder, vision, distance from the urinal and the movement of the train." 

A range of users

The design for the 'family toilet' concentrated on specific target groups, including older people and families with small children. Loth says: "A survey revealed that older people in particular would travel by train more often if it was equipped with a well-designed, hygienic toilet. Separating the toilet bowl and the urinal helps in this regard. The design includes wall braces that you can hold on to. The toilet cubicle has to be accessible for wheelchair users as well." At the request of NS, TU Delft asked members of the public how they rate the new train toilet. "The ratings depend on how often the toilet is cleaned too, but the design will definitely have a positive influence on passengers' behaviour," says Loth. 


New trains

In Haarlem, NS unveiled the first of 81 modernised double-decker trains from the 1990s. In addition to the new toilets, the train also features art, there is more luggage space, WiFi and up-to-date travel information. New LED lighting and improved aerodynamics also make the train both more sustainable and more economical. This double-decker model will chiefly be used during peak travel hours and can carry a thousand passengers at a time. All 81 double-deckers will be ready by 2020.

More information
Marian Loth developed the new toilet design, commissioned by NS and NedTrain, in collaboration with her supervisor Prof. Daan van Eijk and Assoc. Prof. Johan Molenbroek, both from the Applied Ergonomics and Design research group. 

Marian Loth, doctoral candidate: m.loth@tudelft.nl, +31 (0)15 27 83020, +31 (0)6 15011473 
Wendy Dallinga, Science Communication Advisor, w.m.dallinga@tudelft.nl, +31 (0)15 278 7538