American Journal of Applied Mathematics and Statistics
ISSN (Print): 2328-7306 ISSN (Online): 2328-7292 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/ajams Editor-in-chief: Mohamed Seddeek
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American Journal of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. 2022, 10(3), 80-94
DOI: 10.12691/ajams-10-3-3
Open AccessArticle

Integrating Artificial Neural Networks, Simulation and Optimisation Techniques in Ambulance Deployment for Heterogeneous Regions under Stochastic Environment

Tichaona Wilbert Mapuwei1, , Oliver Bodhlyera2 and Henry Mwambi2

1Department of Statistics and Mathematics, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe

2School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Pub. Date: November 24, 2022

Cite this paper:
Tichaona Wilbert Mapuwei, Oliver Bodhlyera and Henry Mwambi. Integrating Artificial Neural Networks, Simulation and Optimisation Techniques in Ambulance Deployment for Heterogeneous Regions under Stochastic Environment. American Journal of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. 2022; 10(3):80-94. doi: 10.12691/ajams-10-3-3

Abstract

The paper focuses on the development of a strategy to integrate forecasting using artificial neural networks (ANN), simulation and optimisation techniques for ambulance deployment to predefined locations with heterogeneous demand patterns under stochastic environments. The metropolitan city of Bulawayo was used as a case study with high variability in call inter-arrival rates, response times, service times, and proportions of severity of emergencies by geographical zones covered by sub-stations. These stochastic environments complicate the decision-making process at strategic, tactical and operational level, in pursuit to achieve high levels of equality, efficiency and effectiveness in resource allocation and utilisation. This paper proposes an integrated simulation optimisation methodology that integrates future demand and allows for simultaneous evaluation of operational performances of deployment plans using multiple performance indicators such as average response time, total duration of a call-in system, number of calls in response queue, average queuing time, throughput ratios and ambulance utilisation levels. Increasing the number of ambulances influences the average response time below a certain threshold. Beyond this threshold, no significant changes occur in the performance measures. As the fleet size is increased, the ambulance utilisation levels decreased, hence there is always need to balance resource allocation and capacity utilisation to avoid idleness of essential equipment and human resources. Numerical experiments conducted to align the response time to international standards resulted in reduction in number of ambulances required for optimal deployment. For medical resources such as ambulances, deploying more resources do not always translate to better performance, hence there is need to simultaneously consider multiple performance measures. Decision makers in EMS must seriously consider ways of reducing the response time as it has significant bearing in reducing the required number of ambulances, a critical but scarce resource. Efforts must be directed towards digitisation of switch boards in the call center, training of the paramedics and provision of relevant modern equipment to the response teams as it will go a long way in reducing the pre-trip delay time, chute time and ultimately the response time. Based on the scientific evidence, management could lobby for de-congestion and resurfacing of old and dilapidated roads in order to increase access and speed when responding to emergency calls.

Keywords:
forecasting artificial neural networks simulation optimisation ambulance deployment

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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