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Rethinking Remoteness: A Simple and Objective Approach

Zhao, Yuejen and Guthridge, Steven L. (2008). Rethinking Remoteness: A Simple and Objective Approach. Geographical Research,46(4):413-420.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Rethinking Remoteness: A Simple and Objective Approach
Author Zhao, Yuejen
Guthridge, Steven L.
Journal Name Geographical Research
Publication Date 2008
Volume Number 46
Issue Number 4
ISSN 1745-5871   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 413
End Page 420
Total Pages 8
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Field of Research 1604 - Human Geography
0406 - Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
1205 - Urban and Regional Planning
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract This paper re-examines the characteristics and assumptions of current remoteness/accessibility classifications in Australia and proposes a simple and easily understandable alternative measure for remoteness. In this study, remoteness is redefined simply as the average distance between two nearest people within an appropriate spatial unit where population distribution is assumed to be homogenous. By definition, the most straightforward remoteness and incapacity index (RII) would be remoteness times a measure of the incapacity for social and commercial interaction, where remoteness is gauged by the square root of the area divided by the population, and incapacity is measured by the reciprocal of population. Australian Bureau of Statistics Statistical Local Area (SLA) level population data and digital boundaries have been utilised for assessment of this index. The utility of the RII is demonstrated with two examples of activity measures for general practitioner services and businesses. At the State/Territory level, RIIs are negatively related to both general practitioner services per person (Pearson correlation coefficient r=−0.873), and the number of businesses per person (r=−0.546). The correlation can be further enhanced by normalising the distributions of the remoteness scores with a simple logarithmic function. The strong correlations confirm that remoteness has a substantial inverse impact on daily activities. Greater distance means longer time and higher costs for travelling, diseconomy of scale, and higher personnel costs. The RII provides an alternative measure of remoteness that is both intuitive and statistically straightforward and, at an SLA level, closely coincides with the commonly used but complex Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia Plus (ARIA+). Significantly, the RII is free of the service specific and policy sensitive adjustments justified by accessibility that have been introduced into existing measures.
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Created: Tue, 12 May 2009, 15:35:51 CST by Sarena Wegener