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A conflict-based path-generation heuristic for evacuation planning


  • Pillac, Victor
  • Van Hentenryck, Pascal
  • Even, Caroline


Evacuation planning and scheduling is a critical aspect of disaster management and national security applications. This paper proposes a conflict-based path-generation approach for evacuation planning. Its key idea is to decompose the evacuation planning problem into a master and a subproblem. The subproblem generates new evacuation paths for each evacuated area, while the master problem optimizes the flow of evacuees and produce an evacuation plan. Each new path is generated to remedy conflicts in the evacuation flows and adds new columns and a new row in the master problem. The algorithm is applied to a set of large-scale evacuation scenarios ranging from the Hawkesbury-Nepean flood plain (West Sydney, Australia) which require evacuating in the order of 70,000 persons, to the New Orleans metropolitan area and its 1,000,000 residents. Experiments illustrate the scalability of the approach which is able to produce evacuation for scenarios with more than 1200 nodes, while a direct Mixed Integer Programming formulation becomes intractable for instances with more than 5 nodes. With this approach, realistic evacuations scenarios can be solved near-optimally in reasonable time, supporting both evacuation planning in strategic, tactical, and operational environments.

Suggested Citation

  • Pillac, Victor & Van Hentenryck, Pascal & Even, Caroline, 2016. "A conflict-based path-generation heuristic for evacuation planning," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 136-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transb:v:83:y:2016:i:c:p:136-150
    DOI: 10.1016/j.trb.2015.09.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bish, Douglas R. & Sherali, Hanif D., 2013. "Aggregate-level demand management in evacuation planning," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 224(1), pages 79-92.
    2. Lim, Gino J. & Zangeneh, Shabnam & Reza Baharnemati, M. & Assavapokee, Tiravat, 2012. "A capacitated network flow optimization approach for short notice evacuation planning," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 223(1), pages 234-245.
    3. Bretschneider, S. & Kimms, A., 2011. "A basic mathematical model for evacuation problems in urban areas," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 523-539, July.
    4. Daganzo, Carlos F., 1994. "The cell transmission model: A dynamic representation of highway traffic consistent with the hydrodynamic theory," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 269-287, August.
    5. Bretschneider, S. & Kimms, A., 2012. "Pattern-based evacuation planning for urban areas," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 216(1), pages 57-69.
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