BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Just shy of 3 billion trips are expected to be made by Chinese people during the Spring Festival travel rush in 2017, the Ministry of Transport said Thursday.
The number, which includes trips by road, rail, aviation and waterways, is 2.2 percent higher than the previous year, the ministry said.
The 40-day travel frenzy known as "Chunyun" is the hectic period surrounding the Chinese lunar New Year, or Spring Festival.
This year's Spring Festival falls on Jan. 28, 2017. "Chunyun" will begin on Jan. 13 and last until Feb. 21.
Spring Festival is the country's most important family holiday, with hundreds of millions of people heading to their hometowns to meet relatives and old friends, which puts huge stress on the transport system.
Chinese people have never been more affluent and keen to travel, nor have there ever been more migrant workers in cities far from home. Every year, stress on the transport system becomes greater and greater, despite great improvements in infrastructure over the last few years.
Transport networks -- road, rail, aviation and waterways -- have set new highs for "Chunyun" numbers almost every year for the past decade.
To reduce crowds during the rush and to boost transport efficiency, China has been stepping up construction of high-speed railways, which exceeded 20,000 km in total length this year, the world's longest high-speed railway system.