China is getting ready for an epic homecoming for the Lunar New Year with an estimated of three billion people traveling across the country.
Chunyun is the 40-day long Lunar New Year Spring Festival when Chinese people gather at home to celebrate the occasion with their families. This year the festival officially began on January 10 and will end on February 18.
This means that the beginning of Spring Festival rush, when workers begin their journey home, will overlap with the peak time when college students begin winter holidays, putting an even bigger strain on the nation's infrastructure.
Considered the largest human migration on the planet, some three billion trips are expected to be made during the 2020 Chunyun period, a slight increase from last year's figure (2.99 billion trips), reports CNN.
Of these, 2.43 billion journeys will be made by car (1.2 percent less than last year), 440 million by rail (an increase of 8 percent), 79 million by air (an increase of 8.4 percent) and 45 million by sea (an increase of 9.6 percent).
Indeed, those figures are staggering. But fear not, China has already been planning ahead.
On Thursday, a day before Chunyun officially began, a joint press conference was hosted by China's State Council Information Office with seven departments including the National Development and Resort Commission and the Ministry of Transport to announce the stats of this year and the special measures taken for this year's Spring Festival rush.
China has already constructed 8,489 kilometers (about 5,275 miles) of new railway lines in 2019, including 5,474 kilometers of high-speed track which marks it as the world's largest rail network.
The Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway -- which features driverless bullet trains running at 350 kilometers per hour— and Chengdu-Guiyang high-speed railway are two highlights among the openings that will ease the usually heavy road traffic in northern and western China.
Approximately 5,275 pairs of train services will operate per day before the Lunar New Year holiday and 5,410 after.
Over the peak period, more high-speed trains will be deployed at night, with a total of 157.5 pairs of trains per night.
"Comparing to Chunyun last year, ticket shortage problems for some of the most popular routes have been alleviated," said Li Wenxin, vice general manager of the China State Railway Group Co. Ltd, in the press conference. "It's easier to get tickets [this year]."
Apart from the peak travel days (Jan 20-22 and Jan 31-Feb 1), many of the previously sold-out routes still have tickets available.
New technology will help lighten congestion at railway stations, highways and airports.
To speed up ticketing procedures, more than 1,000 train stations in the country were fitted with an e-ticket check-in system.
The long-awaited Beijing Daxing International Airport opened also last year.
During the Lunar New Year season, China's Civil Aviation Administration predicted that the capital's new airport would ferry 190 million passengers, with 15 percent more flights than usual.
In addition to introducing technology to help flying in low visibility, reducing the chances of flight delays in adverse weather conditions, Daxing International Airport has also implemented facial recognition and automated productivity technologies.
Airports across China have scheduled at least 17,000 flights each day, 13.3 per cent more than last year, to deal with the traffic.
Wang Yang, chief engineer at the Ministry of Transport, said about 790,000 buses and 19,000 boats will be used for home-coming ferry services.
They also built and expanded some 330,000 kilometers of highway.
The country implemented an electronic collection system at all toll booths at provincial boundaries shortly before the Spring Festival rush.