IBM and the China Academy of Railway Sciences (CARS), the research institute under China Railway Corporation, announced the successful deployment of a mobile-based platform using analytic insights to ease congestion and improve the user experience during peak travel times.
Specifically, CARS relied on the IBM MobileFirstapplication development portfolio to develop a new mobile ticketing reservation app, “Railway 12306,” which registered 19 million downloads in the first few months following its launch. Passengers are now able to use their mobile devices to query and book tickets, make secure payments, cancel a booking and check in, among many other features. The app was developed, in part, to support demand around the Chinese Spring Festival, which is considered the most significant travel event in the world. China’s transport departments estimated about 3.62 billion trips were made on all modes of transportation during this year’s 40-day travel rush.
“Together with IBM, CARS is using advanced mobile technology to resolve the country’s most pressing transportation challenge and provide a hassle-free ticket reservation service to customers,” said Wang Mingzhe, associate researcher, CARS. “The new mobile app played a pivotal role in this year’s Spring Festival travel rush. It allowed passengers to have an alternative, reliable channel to purchase train tickets in spite of the extremely high demand throughout the peak travel period.”
“China Railway Corporation led by example, demonstrating how a business can use technology to transform how it engages with users,” said Dr. Matt Wang, vice president, IBM China Development Labs. “We are pleased to provide CARS with IBM’s strategic consulting and services, as well as cutting-edge software to advance technological innovation and improve the lives of Chinese citizens.”
During the Spring Festival, about 235 million passenger trips were made on railways, which is the most popular mode of inter-city transport in China. The demand for train tickets far exceeded the supply. In 2011, China Railway Corporation began to sell tickets online to offer a more convenient option than making purchases at stations or ticket offices. In response to the growing demand for mobile services in China, CARS collaborated with IBM China Development Labs for the development of “Railway 12306,” which is available on iOS and Android platforms.
On the first day of its launch, “Railway 12306” recorded half a million downloads and became the most popular app on the Apple App Store. About 60,000 tickets were sold on the first day, and peaked at 440,000 tickets in a single day during the hectic travel period.
With IBM Worklight app development and management capabilities, an integral part of the IBM MobileFirst portfolio, CARS managed to expedite time to market and decrease overall costs. Running on WebSphere Application Server and DB2, “Railway 12306” is seamlessly connected and synchronized with China Railway Corporation’s backend system and massive data to support millions of simultaneous users accessing the mobile ticketing system.