Developing the strategic context is a key action in the strategic case. It includes assessing the strategic alignment of the proposed investment, and also examining the wider environment within which the investment is being made.

Strategic alignment

The strategic context needs to establish how well the proposed investment aligns with your organisation’s priorities, regional and national priorities, other programmes and strategies and other organisations’ priorities, if relevant. You should also consider where your proposed investment sits with regard to the Transport Outcomes Framework developed by the Ministry of Transport.

Transport Outcomes Framework(external link)

When we look at strategic alignment, the must-have for the purposes of the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) is a clear indication of alignment to the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS). Be specific about which GPS priority outcome the investment will make the most contribution to. Simply saying your investment ‘aligns to all the GPS priorities’ doesn’t help decision makers understand the contribution the investment will make, meaning it may not be given the right priority in the NLTP.

Government Policy Statement on Land Transport(external link)

When describing strategic alignment, aim to be as concise as possible. Avoid simply listing all of the strategies you think may be remotely connected to the investment. Instead focus on the three or four highest strategic priorities that are most relevant to your investment, whether from the GPS or local or regional strategic goals, and be clear about the contribution that your investment will make.

The investment environment

The strategic context also needs to describe the environment within which the investment is being considered, to the extent relevant. In particular, you should look for any key interdependencies with things that are or may be changing, such as:

  • land-use changes
  • other planned or committed investments
  • key uncertainties.

Information sources that can help understand the strategic context include existing strategies, monitoring data, previous studies and reports, and current organisational goals and outcomes sought, such as:

  • Arataki, the Waka Kotahi long-term strategic plan for the land transport system
  • One Network Framework (ONF), a tool that is used to classify transport networks in terms of their movement and place function – understanding the ONF category of a transport link, and connection of the surrounding network, can provide valuable context for your business case.
    One Network Framework

Be clear about the relevance of any existing information to the investment being considered.

As with strategic alignment, the description of the investment environment needs to be focused and concise. The main purpose of considering the strategic environment is to identify any:

  • key interdependencies – for example with other related investments or proposals, and
  • key uncertainties – for example potential land-use changes or other factors that could influence demand.

It also provides important context against which potential options can be considered, to make sure they will continue to be appropriate into the future.

Avoid writing a lengthy discourse of the entire strategic environment for the area of interest, regardless of relevance. Instead focus on:

  • helping readers understand whether the investment makes sense in the context within which it is being proposed
  • identifying information that will help when choosing between alternatives and options – for example by showing whether an option would be grossly out-of-context.

Resources and further information


Need support?

Contact either your Waka Kotahi investment advisor or email the Business Case Process team at