Smart restrooms are coming to an airport and gas station near you.
Buc-ee’s, the Texas operator of large roadside gas stations and convenience stores, has led a $3 million round of funding for Tooshlights, a Los Angeles startup behind the system. It uses red and green lights to indicate whether bathroom stalls are occupied. (Courtesy of Tooshlights)
No more rattling bathroom stall doors after a long flight at DFW International Airport.
The airport’s governing board is considering a $3.2 million contract for smart restroom technology that, among other things, will add lights in bathrooms above stalls to indicate which toilets are in use.</>
Red means occupied, and green means you can go.
The technology will include wayfaring screens that indicate how many stalls in a given bathroom are unoccupied. The signs could also show passengers which nearby bathrooms have plenty of stalls available.
The contract includes sensors to indicate when bathrooms are low on supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap.
“Our numbers and passenger volume is going up precipitously, and the number of restrooms aren’t,” said Julio Badin, DFW’s vice president for customer experience.
The airport served 63 million passengers in 2018, a 5% increase from the year before.
Smart restrooms are growing in popularity at airports across the country. Houston’s George W. Bush Intercontinental Airport was an early adopter, adding it to stalls in its 24 bathrooms in 2017. The convenience store and gas station chain Buc-ee’s, which hypes its superbly clean restrooms, is installing stall sensors with the name “Tooshlights.”
Unlike lights for parking stalls, the DFW Airport stall indicator lights will monitor the status of door latches instead of using a motion sensor to see whether anyone is using the toilet.
Badin said the new technology will help the airport’s janitorial team clean bathrooms based on use and demand instead of doing them in a simple rotation.
The airport has been testing the technology for the last few weeks, Badin said.
The $3.2 million contract with Alpharetta, Ga.-based Infax Inc. would cover a three-year term, with the option to renew it for two more one-year deals. The airport board is set to vote on the deal Thursday.