Models for relief routing: Equity efficiency and efficacy
In humanitarian relief operations vehicle routing and supply allocation decisions are critically important. Similar routing and allocation decisions are studied for commercial settings where efficiency in terms of minimizing cost is the primary objective. Humanitarian relief is complicated by the presence of multiple objectives beyond minimizing cost. Routing and allocation decisions should result in quick and sufficient distribution of relief supplies with a focus on equitable service to all aid recipients. However quantifying such goals can be challenging. In this paper we define and formulate performance metrics in relief distribution. We focus on efficacy (i.e. the extent to which the goals of quick and sufficient distribution are met) and equity (i.e. the extent to which all recipients receive comparable service). We explore how efficiency efficacy and equity influence the structure of vehicle routes and the distribution of resources. We identify trends and routing principles for humanitarian relief based on the analytical properties of the resulting problems and a series of computational tests. © 2009 Published by Elsevier Ltd.