The Portland Loo (image

CPTED public toilet design

CPTED offers a sound basis for designing safe public toilets.

The essential requirements that a safe public toilet needs to provide are:

  • High reliability
  • Provide hand washing
  • Low cleaning and maintenance costs
  • Robust against vandalism
  • Beautiful appearance
  • Maintain appropriate privacy and decency
  • Discourage illegal drug use
  • Discourage illegal sexual behaviour
  • Protect against being used in assaults
  • Sufficient capacity (users per day etc)

The essential design features of successful CPTED toilets are:

  • In public accessible location with good sight lines and guardianship
  • Wash facilities outside the toilet in public space
  • Robust easy to clean construction
  • Clear view under and over the door and walls
  • No entry vestibule
  • Attractive appearance
  • Vandalproof  interior and exterior construction
  • Blue interior lighting

24/7 availability is required to minimise public urination and defecation.

Monitored CCTV can be used external to the toilet unit to provide support for users and to discourage misuse.

In well used public spaces, each toilet:

  • has up to 300 flushes per day
  • requires cleaning 2-5 times per day
  • toilets not connected to the water/sewage systems require storage for at least a week

Example: Portland Loo

The Portland Loo is an excellent example of best CPTED public toilet design that is now widely adopted:

The Portland loo is designed to be big enough to take in a bicycle/pram/wheelchair.

A core issue is that a public toilet should NOT be designed to be a welcoming pleasant place!

Example: Dalrymple Restroom

Another example, less well developed than the Portland Loo, is the australian Dalrymple Restroom:  

The Dalrymple Restroom is less robust than the Portland Loo and less robust internal details. However it has two important CPTED features: sight lines under the doors and walls and the wash facility tap is external.

Temporary Public Toilets

Temporary stand-alone public toilets offer a rapid solution to CPTED problems needing an urgent and economic public toilet facility.

Cost not including transport is around US$750. Maintenance costs, however, also include emptying the storage tank. (see, e.g.

Resources on CPTED Public Toilet Design

The Design Out Crime and CPTED Centre has collected some resources  on CPTED Public Toilet Design here.

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