OR Spectrum

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 77–107 | Cite as

Dynamic transportation of patients in hospitals

  • Alexandre Beaudry
  • Gilbert Laporte
  • Teresa Melo
  • Stefan Nickel
Regular Article


This study analyzes and solves a patient transportation problem arising in large hospitals. The aim is to provide an efficient and timely transport service to patients between several locations in a hospital campus. Transportation requests arrive in a dynamic fashion and the solution methodology must therefore be capable of quickly inserting new requests in the current vehicle routes. Contrary to standard dial-a-ride problems, the problem under study includes several complicating constraints which are specific to a hospital context. The study provides a detailed description of the problem and proposes a two-phase heuristic procedure capable of handling its many features. In the first phase a simple insertion scheme is used to generate a feasible solution, which is improved in the second phase with a tabu search algorithm. The heuristic procedure was extensively tested on real data provided by a German hospital. Results show that the algorithm is capable of handling the dynamic aspect of the problem and of providing high-quality solutions. In particular, it succeeded in reducing waiting times for patients while using fewer vehicles.


In-house hospital transportation Dial-a-ride Dynamic mode Tabu search 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandre Beaudry
    • 1
  • Gilbert Laporte
    • 2
  • Teresa Melo
    • 3
  • Stefan Nickel
    • 4
  1. 1.Jeppesen (Canada) Ltd.MontrealCanada
  2. 2.Canada Research Chair in Distribution ManagementHEC MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics and Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of Applied SciencesSaarbrückenGermany
  4. 4.Chair of Operations Research and Logistics and Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial MathematicsSaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

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