Of the ubiquitous public assets that people have come to expect to find in public spaces, including water fountains, pay phones, trash cans and restrooms, public restrooms are the asset with the fewest alternative options. While the use of water bottles and mobile phones has become more commonplace, there is seemingly no adequate proxy for a restroom.
In a public restroom, we are reminded not only of how much we depend on public spaces and the assets found there, but also of the people we share those places with. This brings up the first question this study will address: where are the public restrooms, and how does one find them? For example, one of the nicest things to have while driving cross-country is a Wal-Mart brand US Atlas. Not only does it have all the major roads in every state and convenient tables of distances between key cities, it also has the location of every Wal-Mart along the way, which is great for on-the-go oil changes, last minute shopping, and restrooms. Wal-Marts consistently have usable, public restrooms in highly visible (easy to find) locations. While on the road, away from home, and one needs to go, there is no higher comfort in knowing exactly where one can find exactly what one needs. This study will address the first question by creating accurate, first-hand verified toilet maps for downtown Chicago.