Tactics

Pedestrian Scramble or Barnes Dance

A pedestrian scramble, or Barnes Dance, is an exclusive pedestrian interval that stops all vehicular movement to allow pedestrians access to cross in any direction at the intersection, including diagonally. During a Barnes Dance, pedestrians can cross at all four crosswalks; during a pedestrian or signal scramble, pedestrians are encouraged to cross the intersections diagonally as well.

Guidance
  • Install accessible pedestrian signals
Benefits
  • Improves pedestrian safety by removing conflicting traffic from the pedestrian crossing phase
  • Provides better separation between cars and pedestrians
Considerations
  • Potentially increases wait times for pedestrians and the possibility of pedestrians crossing against the signal
  • Potentially confuses visually impaired pedestrians who rely on traffic sounds to decide when and where to cross
  • Potentially hampers ability to synchronize timing at adjacent traffic signals
Where to Use It
  • Areas with high pedestrian volumes (e.g., more than 1,200 pedestrian crossings per day)
  • Areas with high-volume and high-speed turning vehicles that threaten pedestrians
  • Areas with heavy conflicts between crossing pedestrians and turning vehicles
Professional Consensus
  • Recognized as a pedestrian-signal-timing option in the 2009 MUTCD
Examples
  • Newark, DE
  • New York, NY
  • Pasadena, CA
  • Toronto, ON

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.