Re-planning the intermodal transportation of emergency medical supplies with updated transfer centers

Junhu Ruan, Felix T.S. Chan, Xiaofeng Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Helicopters and vehicles are often jointly used to transport key relief supplies and respond to disaster situations when supply nodes are far away from demand nodes or the key roads to affected areas are cut off. Emergency transfer centers (ETCs) are often changed due to secondary disasters and further rescue, so the extant intermodal transportation plan of helicopters and vehicles needs to be adjusted accordingly. Disruption management is used to re-plan emergency intermodal transportation with updated ETCs in this study. The basic idea of disruption management is to minimize the negative impact resulting from unexpected events. To measure the impact of updated ETCs on the extant plan, the authors consider three kinds of rescue participators, that is, supply recipients, rescue drivers, and transport schedulers, whose main concerns are supply arrival time, intermodal routes and transportation capacity, respectively. Based on the measurement, the authors develop a recovery model for minimizing the disturbance caused by the updated ETCs and design an improved genetic algorithm to generate solutions for the recovery model. Numerical experiments verify the effectiveness of this model and algorithm and discern that this disruption management method could produce recovery plans with shorter average waiting times, smaller disturbances for all the supply arrival times, intermodal routes and transportation capacity, and shorter running times. The comparison shows the advantage of this disruption management method over the rescheduling method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2827
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2018


  • Disruption management
  • Emergency intermodal transportation
  • Improved genetic algorithm
  • Updated transfer centers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Re-planning the intermodal transportation of emergency medical supplies with updated transfer centers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this