Disaster Relief Vehicle Routing Under Uncertainty

Vehicle routing problems (VRPs) have been studied extensively and, therefore, there are many algorithms and techniques already developed for the VRPs. In VRPs, the common objective is to minimize the distance travelled or time spent for the travel. That is, the objective is to achieve profitability and/or quality by minimizing the total travel time and/or distance. In disaster relief vehicle routing problems, the objective is quite different; loss of life and human suffering need to be minimized, which may weaken most algorithms and techniques developed for the VRPs. As an illustrative example, the research team introduces the following problem that is depicted in Figure 1. When the disaster area is modeled as a transportation network, a node can be used to represent a geographic locus and links (also called arcs) can be used to represent roads connecting nodes (regions). The task is to deliver critical supplies from depot at node A to beneficiaries at nodes B, C, and D. The VRP solution takes the route of A→B→C→D→A (or an opposite direction), taking 20 hours to complete. If the vehicle departs at midnight, the arrival times are 2 a.m. (B), 10 a.m. (C), and 6 p.m. (D). If the arrival times are to be minimized, rather than the total time spent, then the optimal solution is the route of A (midnight) →B (2 a.m.) → D (6 a.m.) → C (2 p.m.) → A, taking 22 hours. The impact of such change in routing can be extremely significant when it comes to humanitarian relief problems as early delivery of critical supplies can reduce the impact of aftershocks substantially. Campbell et al. (2008) study the impact of different objectives in the VRPs in the context of relief efforts and propose solution approaches.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $23748
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    University Transportation Research Center

    City College of New York
    Marshak Hall, Suite 910, 160 Convent Avenue
    New York, NY  United States  10031
  • Project Managers:

    Eickemeyer, Penny

  • Performing Organizations:

    State University of New York, Albany

    1400 Washington Avenue
    Albany, NY  United States  12222
  • Principal Investigators:

    Chung, Sung Hoon

  • Start Date: 20150501
  • Expected Completion Date: 20161231
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: System Safety Management
  • Subprogram: Research

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01602507
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University Transportation Research Center
  • Contract Numbers: 49198-14-27
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 22 2016 11:05AM