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This section provides an overview of the requirements for the Transport Agency(state highways) to prepare regional state highway transport programmes for input to a regional land transport programme (RLTP).

Preparing a programme for the RLTP

All state highway activities that are proposed for inclusion in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) must be included in an RLTP. This requires the Transport Agency(state highways) to develop regional state highway transport programmes, through which it proposes activities for inclusion in an RLTP, and to submit these to the appropriate Regional Transport Committee (RTC).

Under the Land Transport Management Act (external link) , the Transport Agency sets the form in which RLTPs are to be submitted for consideration for the NLTP. This, in turn, prescribes the form in which Approved Organisations and the Transport Agency(state highways) need to submit their proposals for inclusion in an RLTP via Transport Investment Online (external link) .

The criteria that apply to activities proposed for inclusion in an RLTP and the NLTP are less stringent than those that apply to activities for which funding approval is sought. This means that activities may be proposed for inclusion in an RLTP or the NLTP at an early stage of their development, when limited information is available. Activities proposed for funding approval need to be developed sufficiently to enable the approval under s.20 of the Land Transport Management Act (external link) .

Planning and investment principles

Approved Organisations and the Transport Agency(state highways) are expected to apply the Transport Agency’s planning and investment principles in developing their transport programmes and activities.

Use of Business Case Approach

The Transport Agency expects the Business Case Approach will be used for all new activities developed in the 2015-18 NLTP and, as of July 2015,  Approved Organisations and the Transport Agency(state highways) are required to use the Business Case Approach for all Transport Planning activities. 

Activities derived from studies, strategies, packages and/or plans prior to the introduction of the Business Case Approach can continue to be developed using this approach.  However, Approved Organisations and the Transport Agency(state highways) are encouraged to use the principles of the Business Case Approach to develop activities for which they are currently seeking funding approval.  In particular, they should ensure that there is a clear statement of the problem and the consequences of not fixing the problem(s), and identify the potential outcomes and benefits that should be achieved from addressing the problem.

Structure of programme

Approved Organisations and the Transport Agency(state highways) should structure their transport programmes by:

  • Activity class - which will be largely managed through the use of the correct Transport Investment Online module.
  • Programme Business Cases - activities that together target a defined problem in a specific area or corridor should be identified and linked to a programme business case under the Business Case Approach. In some cases these activities will be interdependent, i.e. the benefits of one activity cannot be fully delivered without delivery of others, and their delivery achieves synergies in the transport system. Theses should be identified in sub-programmes within the programme business case. Activities developed prior to the Transport Agency's adoption of the Business Case Approach that synergistically target a defined problem were identified and linked in a package.
  • Programmes – comprising routine, low risk activities that are delivered in a continuous manner, e.g. road maintenance programme or public transport services programme.
  • Improvement projects of over $300,000 estimated construction cost are set up as stand alone projects in Transport Investment Online. No project under $300,000 construction cost should be developed as a stand alone project, unless it is a Road Safety Promotion activity.
  • Minor improvement projects of less than $300,000 estimated construction cost - each Approved Organisation and Transport Agency(state highways) region at least will receive a base funding allocation, provided it has met the conditions of funding for minor improvements. Detail is set out under work category 341 for roading minor improvements and work category 531 for public transport minor improvements.

Information requirements for activities

When developing activities, Approved Organisation must ensure that required fields in Transport Investment Online (external link) must be completed with the information relevant to the activity's business case stage and its readiness for either NLTP inclusion or funding approval. 

Since the NZ Transport Agency expects that Approved Organisations will monitor the impacts of their land transport investments, investment performance measures need to be selected by Approved Organisations and agreed with the NZ Transport Agency’s regional staff.  The Investment Performance Measurement pages provide further information on which activities must have performance measures and the Transport Agency measurement framework which includes a range of performance measures.

The Transport Agency requires that the Road safety audit procedures must be applied to the development of any improvement or renewal activity that involves vehicular traffic, and/or walking and/or cycling, proposed for funding assistance from the NLTP.  The Road Safety Audit page provides details of when the audits must be undertaken or how to declare an exception.

Evidence based justification

All activities that are proposed for funding assistance under the NLTP must be supported by robust evidence. 

Robust evidence is to be provided in Transport Investment Online fields and uploaded supporting information, including strategies, business cases, activity management plans, regional passenger transport plans, project feasibility reports, scheme assessment reports, economic evaluation worksheets, etc.

Further detailed evidence, particularly for programmes, may be required to be presented during NLTP negotiations with the Transport Agency.

Assessment profile

Approved Organisations and the Transport Agency(state highways) are required to use the Investment Assessment Framework to determine the assessment profiles of their activities, and to inform their decisions to submit activities for inclusion in an RLTP

Each activity will also be assessed by the Transport Agency, using the Investment Assessment Framework. The resulting assessment profile is used to ascertain the activity’s priority for inclusion and programming in the NLTP. 


The Transport Agency’s prioritisation of activities for programming in the NLTP utilises the Assessment Framework's priority orders, which sets out the assessment profiles and their priority order.


The process for developing the regional  state highway programmes is described here.


Approved Organisations and the Transport Agency(state highways) are expected to optimise their programmes when they develop them for RLTP inclusion.

 At an activity level, this involves option identification and selection of the preferred option. This may involve use of multi-criteria analysis to short list options and should involve incremental assessment to select the preferred option from the short list, as well as using First Year Rate of Return (FYRR) to help inform timing decisions.

At a programme level, it involves sequencing and programming of components and relative scale of components to achieve efficient allocation of resources over time and best value for money.