The concept of geographical “remoteness” describes the state of being physically distant from something else.

A reliable index of remoteness would measure distance of geographical place X from place Y (where Y is a less ‘remote’ place), such that the index score for each place X is comparable with other places.

The ARIA+ index (Accessibility / Remoteness Index of Australia) is apparently accepted as Australia’s most authoritative geographic measure of remoteness.

The measurement principle underlying ARIA+ is:

“If one thinks of ARIA as based on the distances people have to travel to obtain services, then populated localities [place x] are where they are coming from, and Service Centres [place Y] are where they are going to.”

That is: the higher the ARIA+ index, the more remote a geographical place is, and in practical terms – the further the distance that people living in that place have to travel to access services (the most basic of services would include health, education, retail, etc).

In practice, there are four levels of remoteness:

  • Major cities
  • Inner regional
  • Remote
  • Very remote

Measuring and understanding remoteness helps us understand, for example (among a number of things), the challenges in nation-wide postal service delivery.

What are other situations where it helps to compare places by reference to their ARIA+ remoteness score?