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The programme business case (PBC) phase is where an in depth understanding of the problems, opportunities and constraints that are proposed in the strategic case are developed and presented through evidence based data, information collection and analysis.

It is within this stage where the transport outcomes to be achieved are developed further and refined from the strategic case into SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed) investment objectives. The transport outcomes should express the outcomes sought for the transport appraisal exercise under consideration and be demonstrably related to the specific problems/opportunities at hand, as expressed through the strategic case.

The programme business case identifies an optimal mix of alternatives and options through multi-criteria assessment of the widest practicable set of potential alternatives and options which could alleviate the identified or perceived problems, or address the potential opportunities.

The PBC does not look at detailed solutions at this stage but should consider a broad mix of activities that might be delivered by multiple parties over a period of time. This business case will receive official NZ Transport Agency support, including assessment of strategic fit. An anticipated effectiveness and efficiency assessment is also undertaken at programme level.

See the Programme business case overview [PDF, 73 KB] for more information.

Key steps

The process of developing a programme business case (PBC) should be both systematic and collaborative. 60% of effort put into a PBC should be focused on collecting evidence and understanding the root cause of issues as stated in the strategic case. Through the PBC a greater, evidence based, understanding of the issues and opportunities is gained and ultimately shaped into specific investment objectives against which the recommended programme can ultimately be assessed.

Programme business case guidance [PDF, 1.6 MB] has been developed specifically for application to the development of transport investments which incorporate state highway activities. It has been prepared to be consistent with the technical requirements of the NZ Transport Agency with regard State Highway Professional Services and is targeted towards NZ Transport Agency staff and practitioners engaged by the NZ Transport Agency to develop business cases incorporating potential state highway activities. However, the tools and guides available within this guidance and also available in this section of the Highways Information Portal may be helpfully adopted or adapted by other sector partners in discussion with the NZ Transport Agency.

Coupled with the guidance, a ‘model’ process for the PBC phase [PDF, 39 KB] is presented below and demonstrates recommended sequencing of key steps for a PBC. Again, the PBC should follow a principles based approach and, dependent upon complexity or risk, not all steps may be required or opportunities for combining elements could be taken with no risk to undermining the quality of the overall outcome.

Quality assurance and approvals

Records of quality assurance and approvals should be undertaken in accordance with the Highways and Network Operations project assurance and approvals process.

Technical requirements

For each phase of the business case process there are technical requirements that may be relevant to your project that will need to be considered and included in addition to general guidance and templates. Aligned to the business case philosophy, suppliers are required to meet more technical requirements as an activity progresses through the business case phases.

Outlined below are the technical requirements for completing the programme business case, by subject matter.

Suppliers are required to comply with these requirements except where varied within the scope of a contract.

For further information or advice, contact the relevant team.

Subject matter Technical requirements Information Contact
Community and stakeholder engagement Identify key stakeholders and decision makers and their likely interest in the issues and project Community and stakeholder engagement Environment team
Prepare public engagement plan outlining approach to Transport Agency engagement principles 
Economics Coarse assessment of options and alternatives in programmes similar to BCR or generic rates Economic evaluation manual Outcome Planning team 
Electric vehicle public charging infrastructure

Consider requirements to allow electric vehicle (EV) drivers to charge their vehicles while using state highways and local roads

Other emerging technologies should also be considered at this stage

Public charging infrastructure guidance EV Programme team
Environment and social responsibility  Demonstrate how the proposed activity gives effect to the Transport Agency Environmental and Social Responsibility Policy  Policy [PDF, 32 KB] Environment team 
Consider the objectives of the state highway environmental plan when developing and assessing alternatives and options State highway environmental plan
Pavements Consider an approximate pavement type based on approximate traffic loading, environment and future maintenance requirements   Pavements team
Property The land required by the initiative is identified and a detailed risk assessment and a draft property acquisition and/or disposal plan is prepared

Property acquisition checklist

Property disposal checklist

Generic Gantt programme

Property team
Risk Formal risk management, associated processes, practices and reporting will form part of the risk management discussion within the management case Project risk management Risk team
Statutory approvals  Confirm alignment with integrated planning strategy Strategy [PDF, 245 KB] Environment team 
Identify the relevant planning and statutory framework Framework (external link)


Forms and templates

Title Type Document PDF
Programme business case document Template Word [DOCX, 454 KB] PDF [PDF, 4 MB] 
PBC assessment of alternatives summary table Template Word [DOCX, 99 KB] PDF [PDF, 153 KB]

Guidelines and tools

Title Download
Guidance for developing programme business cases for state highway investment PDF [PDF, 1.6 MB]
Programme business case best practice approach visual guide PDF [PDF, 39 KB]
Business Case Approach strategic options toolkit Website link (external link)
Framework for investment performance measurement Website link (external link)

For further information contact

Public charging infrastructure guidance