Despite the government changing the traffic patterns in the city, traffic is getting worse. In theory, the traffic patterns might have worked but there is one intangible the government didn't take into account -- cars.
I arrived in Hanoi in April of 2008. In nearly two years, I would say that that amount of cars in Hanoi has at least quadrupled. Two years ago nearly every car you would see would be a taxi. Now there are less taxis than regular cars. It seems that every upper middle class family and higher has bought a car. This morning I consciously took note of all the different brands I saw. There were GM cars, BMWs, Mazdas, Mercedes, Toyotas, Lexus, Mini Coopers and a few other companies I didn't recognize.
The increase in cars is a huge problem. Besides the fact that they take up more space on the road when they are being driven, they also take up space when they're parked. This city wasn't built with car parking lots which means cars are parking on sidewalks, sides of the road and basically any free space they can find to occupy.