The Spring Festival travel rush is dubbed as the largest annual human migration on the Earth. Every year during this period, China's railways have to transport more than 300 million passengers. And the transportation needs to be run smoothly, without any crashes or jams.
It's not only a livelihood issue, but also a big technological challenge. Among the many complaints often received during this travel period, difficulties in buying a ticket was the most prominent for decades. Technological advancement, however, has made the experience much less painful this year, with the upgrade of the online ticketing system.
Using improved algorithm, cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence, the 12306 online ticketing system has evolved into the largest ticketing system in the world.
At peak booking times, more than 15 million train tickets are purchased through this system, with more than 150 billion site visits per day. It's no exaggeration to say that this ticketing system is approaching technological limits, with no experience from other countries available as reference.
The transition from old or backward methods to advanced ways applied to the Spring Festival travel is actually a testimony to China's technology innovation and its widespread application, particularly digital technologies, in the past decade. The hardship of rushing to grab a train ticket to go home is replaced by convenient ticketing experiences. The application of technology continues to improve people's Spring Festival travel experience and helps to solve other woes related to their daily life.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article originally published in Changjiang Daily on January 16)