Hierarchical Planning for Resource Allocation in Emergency Response Systems


A classical problem in city-scale cyber-physical systems (CPS) is resource allocation under uncertainty. Spatial-temporal allocation of resources is optimized to allocate electric scooters across urban areas, place charging stations for vehicles, and design efficient on-demand transit. Typically, such problems are modeled as Markov (or semi-Markov) decision processes. While online, offline, and decentralized methodologies have been used to tackle such problems, none of the approaches scale well for large-scale decision problems. We create a general approach to hierarchical planning that leverages structure in city-level CPS problems to tackle resource allocation under uncertainty. We use emergency response as a case study and show how a large resource allocation problem can be split into smaller problems. We then create a principled framework for solving the smaller problems and tackling the interaction between them. Finally, we use real-world data from a major metropolitan area in the United States to validate our approach. Our experiments show that the proposed approach outperforms state-of-the-art approaches used in the field of emergency response.

Proceedings of the 12th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems, ICCPS 2021, Nashville, TN, USA