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Pre-timed: The signal serves each phase of traffic without sensing any traffic at the signal.
Semi Actuated: The main flow of traffic won’t sense any traffic, but the side street senses cars.
Fully Actuated: All phases of traffic sense cars and the signal cycles on demand. The controller is programmed for minimum and maximum green times. The green phase of traffic will terminate in two ways: The green phase served its maximum time, or the phase gapped out (excessive amounts of time between cars).
Sometimes the loop wires become damaged and the signal controller will interpret the damaged wires as a vehicle call. This will hold the phase green for the maximum amount of seconds programmed into the controller.
If a pedestrian push button has been damaged or jammed so the button can't release, the signal will serve the pedestrian call every cycle. This will cause the signal to stay green while it serves the pedestrian call.
If the signal is running in a coordinated string of traffic signals, it will hold green in order to maintain its coordination with the other signals.