Health Care Management Science

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 165–186 | Cite as

A dynamic ambulance management model for rural areas

Computing redeployment actions for relevant performance measures
  • T. C. van Barneveld
  • S. Bhulai
  • R. D. van der Mei


We study the Dynamic Ambulance Management (DAM) problem in which one tries to retain the ability to respond to possible future requests quickly when ambulances become busy. To this end, we need models for relocation actions for idle ambulances that incorporate different performance measures related to response times. We focus on rural regions with a limited number of ambulances. We model the region of interest as an equidistant graph and we take into account the current status of both the system and the ambulances in a state. We do not require ambulances to return to a base station: they are allowed to idle at any node. This brings forth a high degree of complexity of the state space. Therefore, we present a heuristic approach to compute redeployment actions. We construct several scenarios that may occur one time-step later and combine these scenarios with each feasible action to obtain a classification of actions. We show that on most performance indicators, the heuristic policy significantly outperforms the classical compliance table policy often used in practice.


Dynamic ambulance management Dynamic relocation Response times Heuristics 



This research was financed in part by Technology Foundation STW under contract 11986, which we gratefully acknowledge. Moreover, we thank the ambulance service provider of Flevoland for providing data.

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This study was funded by Technology Foundation STW, under contract number 11986.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. C. van Barneveld
    • 1
  • S. Bhulai
    • 2
  • R. D. van der Mei
    • 1
  1. 1.Centrum Wiskunde & InformaticaAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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