Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access

Inadequate restroom access has been an issue for transit operators for many years. This issue not only impacts the transit professionals’ well-being, but threatens their ability to perform essential job functions safely. Despite increasing attention, the relevant sanitation standards are not consistently applied to the mobile workforce or to public transit employees. The safety impact of restricted urination is a persistent concern given recent evidence of its cognitive impact. The lack of effective policies and procedures for ensuring restroom access has contributed to transit operator stress in favor of short-term productivity. Practical, simple approaches have been adopted but are not in use at all transit agencies. Even when the policies and procedures are in place, operational demands can override the safety and health directives. Despite the long-standing problems, the actual financial, operational, and organizational costs to employers, the worker health burden, and the public safety impact have not yet been quantified or addressed. The objective of this research is to develop resources that include implementable strategies that address how to improve restroom access for transit operators. This research will identify the safety, health, and financial impacts to transit agencies, operators, and the public arising from transit operators’ inadequate restroom access. At a minimum, the resources should include: (1) Metrics (qualitative or quantitative) to assess the potential impacts of inadequate restroom access on transit operators’ safety, health, dignity, and productivity; (2) Tools to educate the transit agency staff about the need for adequate restroom access when developing routes and schedules; and (3) Recommended strategies transit agencies can use to implement solutions for adequate restroom access. In order to develop these resources, the researcher will provide: (a) an annotated bibliography of research that describes the health and safety effects of inadequate restroom access on worker performance; (b) a description of appropriate data needed to understand the impacts of inadequate restroom access on transit operators’ safety, health, and productivity; (c) a description of data gaps that preclude determining the comprehensive safety and health effects of inadequate restroom access; (d) five to 10 in-depth applicable case studies that focus on the effects of inadequate restroom access in a range of transit agencies (e.g., small, medium, large, urban, suburban, rural) and an assessment of what works, what does not work, and why; (e) innovative approaches for assessing and mitigating impact to transit operators; and (f) best practices for providing adequate restroom access for transit operators.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project F-25

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Chisholm-Smith, Gwen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Research Foundation of CUNY

    New York, NY  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Gillespie, Robin

  • Start Date: 20170202
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40552

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01584076
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project F-25
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 24 2015 1:00AM