China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet

The world's largest annual "migration" in China began on January 10, with about 3 billion trips estimated to take place in 40 days. Advanced technologies have been applied.

Hundreds of millions of people across China have begun to go home to reunite with their families during the Chinese New Year, creating the world's largest annual migration called "fortune".

An estimated 3 billion trips took place during this year's "spring", which lasted 40 days from January 10 to February 18, according to representatives from China's National Development and Reform Commission. January 25 is the New Year of the Rat year, the "year of the mouse" according to the Eastern Asia calendar.

Picture 1 of China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet

Train travel time is greatly reduced

While state media reported health authorities had identified a new coronavirus as a source of disease in 59 mysterious pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, traffic officials said they were prepared to respond.

Wang Yang, a representative of China's Ministry of Transport, said: "Some work has been done, focusing on sterilization supervision and protection measures in areas with large numbers of passengers, including including transit points, passenger terminals and cargo factories. "

The South China Morning Post said China's rail industry is expected to transport 440 million passengers during the holiday period, up 32.6 million from the previous year, or 8%, according to government estimates.

The rapid expansion of China's transportation system, especially the railway, has completely changed the way it travels in the world's most populous country.

With China building an additional 139,000 km of railways, and now 35,000 km of high-speed railways - the largest in the world - travel time has been significantly reduced for many people.

The fastest train from Zhangjiakou, a city in northern Hebei province, about 200 km from the Chinese capital, to Beijing has dropped from more than 3 hours to 47 minutes after the high-speed rail line intercity operation came last month.

If passengers used to take 9 hours by train to travel from Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, to Beijing, now they only take more than 2 hours.

Picture 2 of China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet
The railway system, especially high-speed rail, has continuously expanded over the years.(Photo: Xinhua News Agency).

The online railway ticketing system will also extend the operating time for an additional 30 minutes a day on this occasion, from 6 am to 23:30 pm, and ticket purchases can be confirmed by face recognition. Self-service identity verifiers have been set up at high-speed rail stations and other stops with large passenger volumes to ease congestion.

According to representatives of the China Civil Aviation Administration, more than 17,000 flights will take place every day, up 13.3% from the previous year. Meanwhile, about 790,000 passenger cars with a total capacity of 20.3 million passengers and 19,000 ships with a carrying capacity of about 830,000 passengers are expected to participate in the "spring transport".

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Overloaded image at Harbin station

Picture 4 of China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet
Passengers wait outside the Beijing railway station

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A man carrying a bag to go home to celebrate Tet

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Goodbye kiss outside Beijing railway station

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The ticketing area is extremely crowded

Picture 8 of China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet

Picture 9 of China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet

Application of 5G, AI

China has also introduced new technologies to improve the passenger experience on this occasion, including 5G technology and artificial intelligence (AI).

At East Hangzhou Railway Station, Zhejiang Province, passengers with lost identification cards can receive temporary identification within 30 seconds with the help of facial recognition technology, according to China News.

The article said the "self-service temporary identification printer" would match the passengers' faces with their card numbers and print out a new card. Previously, passengers had to queue at the staff counter to get a temporary card or go to the police station to get a new card.

Picture 10 of China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet

Also according to this article, there will be a security robot powered by fifth-generation mobile network technology (5G), which helps employees at railway stations detect suspicious people and behavior. Robots will use AI to analyze the behavior of people in the terminal.

The adoption of AI and 5G technology during the annual moving peak season is consistent with Beijing's respect for these technologies in recent years. AI has been deployed for everything, from forcing pedestrians to reckless roads to rubbish sorting, while China started deploying commercial 5G services nationwide last year.

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Facial recognition technology is used at a station in Henan Province.(Photo: Xinhua News Agency).

According to an article in Nanfang Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Guangdong province, the first railway line covered with 5G in China, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed railway, had also Start the service on the first day of "Spring".

This is a joint effort of China Mobile, Guangzhou China Railway Group and Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei, which started construction in September 2019 to prepare for the New Year season. More than 300 5G stations are built along the planned route and the signal will cover both tunnels and the station, according to the article.

5G services will bring faster data rates, reduce latency, save energy, reduce costs, increase system capacity and connect large devices. This is expected to solve the unstable 4G network situation, even when the train runs at a maximum speed of 350 km / h.

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Picture 13 of China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet

Picture 14 of China started the 'spring': 3 billion trips within the next 40 days to go home for Tet

Even at South Guangzhou Road Station, the authorities use AI technology to detect crowded areas, help people move faster and safer, avoid fighting or accidents. It is estimated that the number of stations using the technologies has increased from 133 to 300 in the past year

In addition to public transport, many people use carpooling apps to avoid the chaotic crowds.

In fact, the spring season with the Chinese people has never been a peaceful season because it depends a lot on the weather. In 2017, some highways in the central region of the country were frozen, dense fog made transportation difficult and prolonged congestion.

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