Traffic lights in Port of Spain

One of the biggest problems in Trinidad and Tobago right now -- the one that everybody talks about, all the time -- is the traffic. How can an island of 2 million people with an area the size of London have major traffic problems? Because everybody and everything is concentrated on the capital, Port of Spain. So traffic into and out of the capital is a nightmare. But once inside the capital, a little less so. How come?

Six months ago or so, the traffic light management system in downtown PoS broke down -- the lights all got stuck on flashing yellow. Citizens of PoS, already used to near-permanent gridlock, were at first dismayed. But it turned out that traffic actually sped up. Across the grid, time that was previously wasted waiting for the lights to change started being used by whoever needed it more. After a couple of days, people got used to it, and it was so popular that they decided not to fix the system. So now the traffic lights in downtown Port of Spain are always yellow.

That's the kind of place I'm from.