Frequently Asked Questions

Northstar Advanced Traffic Center FAQ

Can you define peak and off peak periods?

Our peak periods are the morning rush hour from 6am – 9am and the evening rush hour 4:30 to 7pm. Our off peak periods are the times between the morning and evening peak periods.

How long should I wait at a light?

Our evening peak periods are our longest cycle lengths at 135 seconds. These cycle lengths are needed to keep the progression on our major corridors. The morning peak period cycle lengths are 120 seconds. The off peak periods run on 90 seconds and 105 seconds cycle lengths. Before our signals were coordinated, there were not time of day patterns in a majority of the signals in Precinct 3.

Do you accommodate for school or special event traffic?

Yes, our signals have time of day patterns for various areas in the Precinct. These areas includes schools, churches, The Woodlands Pavilion, The Woodlands Mall, Holiday Traffic and other high commercial areas around the Precinct.

What areas have you coordinated or synchronized?

Currently, we have updated the signal timing on a majority of the major corridors in Precinct 3. These include Woodlands Parkway, Lake Woodlands, Research Forest, Gosling Road, Rayford Road, Grogan’s Mill Road and areas around Town Center.

What is Northstar?

Northstar is the collective term for our advanced traffic network.  It includes our traffic signals, traffic cameras, extensive fiber optic network, and server infrastructure. Our Conroe Northstar facility is staffed by trained Signal Technicians and Information Technology professionals. The majority of the Northstar system can be accessed and maintained remotely, allowing us more time in the field.

Are the lights in Precinct 3 synchronized? 

Yes, the lights are synchronized throughout our Precinct.  The intersections have several time of day patterns in place to account for peak and off peak periods, schools, churches and other special consideration which could help reduce traffic congestion.

Why do some intersections get the flashing yellow arrow and others do not?

Our intersection criteria for flashing yellow arrows are a standard set forth from our County Engineer’s Office. Certain criteria must be met before this type of traffic control can be deployed. If you have a request for a flashing yellow arrow, please submit it to mctraffic.org.

Do our cameras record?

The cameras do not record.

If a signal is malfunctioning, who should I call?

Any signal in Precinct 3 that is malfunctioning can be reported to the Precinct 3 Commissioners office or in an email through our website.  This includes a signal in flash, vehicles being skipped or other concerns.

Why have the light patterns changed recently?

On average, entities re-time lights at around the five year mark. This can fluctuate as needed. Precinct 3 is currently in a phase of re-timing.  During this time you may notice a difference in your commute.  Please be cautious as we have changed the patterns on some lights to change at different times.