The absolute worst part of going to any big sporting event or concert isn't the high price of tickets or the expensive beer; it's trying to use the bathroom, especially a stall. Public toilets during events are always packed, smelly, and full of inexplicable puddles. It's the worst. But a new Los Angeles startup called Tooshlights is taking inspiration from parking garages to make restrooms a better experience.

The company's solution is so simple that it's amazing no one ever thought of it before. Many newer parking garages feature lights over the spots to tell drivers from afar whether the space is open, freeing the frustration of thinking you finally have something only to discover a Mini Cooper or Miata hidden between two SUVs. Tooshlights does the same thing for bathrooms by placing LED lights above the stalls with a sensor to know whether it's occupied. Green means open, and red means in use.

The tech is getting its first limited use at the Hollywood Bowl (ironically enough) in LA, and users love it so far. According to Forbes, it's lowering wait times for stalls, and women especially love the idea because there's no guessing if a place is open.

The lights can conceivably keep bathrooms cleaner too. According to Forbes, The connected system knows if a particular stall remains open for too long while the ones around it are consistently used, and the system signals to staff that the spot might need cleaned up a bit.

Tooshlights is still expanding. Company spokesperson Lisa Inouye told Autoblog via email, the company has "pending projects at NFL, NBA, NHL and other stadiums," but it's waiting to announce them until they are official.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      Kolby Doggins
      • 5 Months Ago
      I just want a bathroom stall that I cant make eye contact with someone when I am taking a dump.
      Scott Satellite
      • 5 Months Ago
      Great idea as far as it goes... how about a seat that retracts and gets washed and sterilized between uses. I bet they already have this in Japan.
        david.bergman1
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Scott Satellite
        Instead of an LED bulb they could use a sterilizing UV bulb, problem solved.
        HollywoodF1
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Scott Satellite
        Paris did it, but theirs are on the streets. They end up costing the city about $2.75 per use. The mechanism is bigger than a standard stall, so a lot of them side by side would need bigger bathrooms, and the cleaning cycle takes time, so even more stalls would need to be added to keep the same service capacity. But we're not Socialists, so these free toilets in Paris would cost you, after the bathroom expansions, about $5 a use in a US stadium. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanisette
      • 5 Months Ago
      That's nice. It wouldn't keep it any cleaner here in the south, You will still find the toilet clogged with paper and #2 over flowing on to the floor. The staff will just ignore their duties just as they do now. Two days later you will still find it a mess.
      Dean
      • 5 Months Ago
      Great idea. I hope this catches on. To expedite things, I think the light could incorporate a five-minute timer, after which time, it automatically opens the stall door, and takes your picture to be displayed in a non-inconspicuous location, should you take more than the allotted time. Think of how quickly it will get people in, and out!
        Rick C.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dean
        That's a *crappy* idea.
        Dean
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dean
        Apparently some of you have missed out on my sarcasm...
        Dean
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dean
        So maybe this may not work as well as I though in a sports stadium, or other venue of high traffic, but I do believe if the idea is revised, it could work well in an office environment. Think of the increase in productivity!
      Larry Litmanen
      • 5 Months Ago
      I went to a preseason Football game, drunks, hooligans and hoes are everywhere, along with a 3 hour drive with the traffic, $35 fee for parking and super costly food. I rather be at home, see replace and commentary and use my own clean bathroom, nothing beats that.
        pinsimms99
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        Also, having to stand up to let people by every 5 minutes. Why can't people just sit and watch the game?
      axton72op8
      • 5 Months Ago
      this is wayyy over due. there is so much money spent in nba, nfl, and baseball stadiums, if sports stadiums are upgraded with modern and cutting edge tech, it would attract even more people(even casual sports fans) to the events, especially in the areas where sports are not fully established yet, because the place would just be a nice place to be and socialize at. its easy to see it wold be an investment with huge benefits. there'd probably even be tourist attraction-like advantages too.
      Avinash Machado
      • 5 Months Ago
      Good idea.
      dohc73
      • 5 Months Ago
      That's the solution? I thought it was something useful, like self cleaning floors or urinal privacy walls that actually gave you, privacy.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Eh, they have this in South Korea ages ago.
      svntsvn
      • 5 Months Ago
      Didn't realize it was such a problem to shut the door, lock it, then its occupied. So now, do we dump like inmates, door free, but a red light overhead? Anyway to make a buck...
      drewbiewhan
      • 5 Months Ago
      Now that there's lights to tell you if a stall is occupied, can we get floor to ceiling stall walls now ala George Costanza?
      Neutral President
      • 5 Months Ago
      Multi-level commuter rail parking structures here are starting to implement similar systems that are tied to display signs outside the structure that tell motorists how many free spots are available on each level. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v66/i_hate_pants/IMG_0309_zpsb42c13ed.jpg
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