Skip to content

Public men’s urinal placement

xkcd does an analysis of Urinal protocol vulnerability and implications for design of public restrooms.

Most guys are familiar with the International Choice of Urinal Protocol. It’s discussed at length elsewhere, but the basic premise is that the first guy picks an end urinal, and every subsequent guy chooses the urinal which puts him furthest from anyone else peeing. At least one buffer urinal is required between any two guys or Awkwardness ensues.

This particular analysis is a good start. A recent visit to the El Capitan in Hawthorne brings to mind that the spacing of urinals can contribute to the problem as well. What happens when the space allocated is narrower than a user’s shoulders? At event venues, the traffic at facilities clumps significantly. That means that architects are pushed to squeeze spaces to allow for higher peak volumes. Peak loads also bring up the point of trying to establish an awkwardness coefficient to be able to compare to an urgency measure.

The crowding of stalls to inhibit or prevent use by larger men is just another point on the line from plush facilities towards the ‘navy’ facilities sometimes found in fairgrounds. These are just long troughs that allow for infinite adjustment of spacing. Perhaps the equations for the discreet state could be enhanced with these other considerations to represent a proper function?

The comments in the blog also have some interesting additional ideas. There was a book on bathroom architecture that had some relevant comment as well. The book brought in the measure of ‘pee splash’ as usually seen by rusting as a means to indicate how the facility and its users interacted.

There are also the backup and reserve options. Men have a significant advantage here but generally even the standard options can get messy and have a feedback loop that does not promote desirability.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.