Photo taken on Jan 26 shows passengers arriving at Beijing North Station. Railway stations, highways and airports across China are bracing for a fresh travel peak as a growing number of travelers hit the road and return to work after a week-long Spring Festival holiday which ends on Jan 27. (PHOTO: XINHUA)
By WANG Xiaoxia
China’s Spring Festival travel rush, known as the largest annual human migration in the world, kicked off on January 7 and will end on February 15 this year.
About 34.74 million trips were made on the first day of this year’s Spring Festival travel rush, and about 2.1 billion passenger trips are expected to be made during the period, an incredible year -on-year increase of 99.5 percent, according to the Ministry of Transport.
With the rapid development of China’s science and technology, the Spring Festival travel rush is also witnessing the wider application of advanced technologies in the transportation industry, such as the coverage of 5G networks and the use of intelligent robots.
China has the world’s largest high speed railway network, stretching 42,000 km and capable of accommodating electric multiple unit (EMU) running at 250 – 350 km/h. High speed railways are accessible to more than 95 percent of Chinese cities with over one million population, and play a major role in the Spring Festival travel rush.
For the safe operation of bullet trains during the busiest season in a year, regular inspection and maintenance are essential.
Intelligent robots have been introduced to improve the efficiency and reduce labor costs of this maintenance.
In Xining, Qinghai province, two intelligent robots help the staff to inspect the key parts under the EMUs. They can work 24 hours a day and transmit the monitoring data in real time for analyzing. Higher accuracy and efficiency have reduced the maintenance time of each EMU by nearly 20 minutes.
An ID-based ticket booking system and e-tickets are used at all high-speed train stations. With mobile phone App 12306, people can purchase tickets, change trips, get refunds, order food, book hotel rooms and look for their lost belongings.
Passengers tap their ID cards against a card reader at the ticket barrier to enter the station. Even without an ID card, passengers can also apply for a digital identity certificate on 12306 App, and scan the QR code to get on board.
Faster security check
No more than two minutes is what it takes for passengers to pass through contactless security checks at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport.
Contactless security checks means that passengers are not checked by the security personnel, they only need to take off their belts and shoes, put the carry-on items and luggage into the CT scanner, and enter the millimeter wave examination equipment.
Laptops, umbrellas and other items no longer need to be taken out for further checks. If the scanner’s alarm is not activated, passengers can pass through. The whole process usually takes no more than two minutes.
Meanwhile, many airports in China now use intelligent face information collection and comparison technology in check-in and security checks. Passengers can complete the ID inspection by themselves, which greatly speeds up boarding.
The face recognition system is connected to the luggage information system, to ensure the link of people and bags, which is not only convenient for passengers to check in and claim luggage, but also facilitates the registration and traceability of illegal items.
In addition, staff at Beijing Daxing International Airport wearing AR glasses can also use the face recognition function to read passengers’ boarding information, quickly find passengers in need and provide timely assistance.
Smart expressway service area
The expressway service areas widely built in the expressway system are an important place for regulating road traffic flow and alleviating traffic pressure. As more and more people drive cars home in the Spring Festival, the service areas become crowded, especially on the last day of public holiday.
Recently, Shaoguan North Ring Expressway in Guangdong province adopted a smart service area management system. By setting up camera and radar sensors at the entrance and exit of the service area, combined with big data and AI recognition technology, the system can count the vehicles entering and leaving the service area.
When the system detects that the number of vehicles entering the service area has reached 80 percent of the upper limit, it will issue an early warning to remind the staff to activate the emergency plan for the service area, in order to ensure its smooth operation. In addition, the system can also alert staff about the condition of vehicles stranded in the service area.