With 5 million motorbikes on the city’s streets – many of them carrying entire families, or stacked up with boxes, window frames or flowers – Hanoi has long been either a thrilling, or terrifying, experience for the uninitiated. But all that is about to change. The department of transport and the city council have agreed to ban motorbikes and scooters by 2030 to ease congestion and air pollution. Citing an “alarming” increase in the number of twowheeled vehicles – traffic is at nearly four times the capacity of roads in crowded areas – the government has decided to invest heavily in public transport instead, including a US52- million bus rapid transit system, or BRT, and monorail, due to open next year. A survey earlier this year of the city’s levels of PM2.5 – smog particles responsible for throat and lung damage – found that the city of seven million residents had already passed World Health Organization regulations in the first three months of this year.