I recently published a paper entitled “An Integrated Network Design and Scheduling Problem for Network Recovery and Emergency Response” in Operations Research Perspectives (volume 5, p. 218 – 231) with my PhD student Suzan Afacan Iloglu.
This paper studies a problem in post-disaster response and restoration. Disasters cause damage to important infrastructure systems such as power, water, and road infrastructure. We were particularly motivated by hurricanes, where the debris on roads after the storm make many roads impassable, which can greatly reduce the connectivity of the road network and substantially increase travel times. Often, teams of repair crews clear the roads before utility crews can come in and restore essential services. Given my experience studying emergency medical services, I was particularly interested in how emergency responders can efficiently deliver aid while the debris is being cleared.
In this paper, we seek to coordinate the activities of two types of service providers: (1) emergency responders who provide essential services and (2) repair crews who install arcs over a finite time horizon. We formulate the problem as a location and scheduling model, where emergency responders are located on a network. These facilities can be re-located over a time horizon while network components (arcs) are installed (the scheduling component). The results shed light on how to prioritize the restoration of damaged road infrastructure to assist in providing emergency aid after a disaster. The solutions indicate how to coordinate the recovery of road infrastructure by taking into account emergency service efforts, which is crucial to save more lives and improve resilience.