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Archive - this information is for reference only and no longer maintained.

This page relates to the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme.


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency assesses investment proposals using its Investment Assessment Framework (IAF) to ascertain whether they have sufficient priority to be included in the 2018–21 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) and to inform decisions to approve their funding. The assessment is based on the information contained in the business cases and supporting information submitted in Transport Investment Online (TIO) and considers two ranking factors:

Pre-assessment requirements

Prior to the investment proposal being assessed against the IAF, the approved organisation or Waka Kotahi (state highways) must develop a business case, which Waka Kotahi will assess to ensure it:

  • is robust and has been developed using business case approach (BCA) principles
  • meets the requirements for being included in the NLTP and is eligible for NLTP funding.


  • Prior assessment of the business case

    Prior to applying the IAF, Waka Kotahi will undertake an assessment of the business case to ensure it is fit for purpose and includes the information required to include the activity in the NLTP or for support or funding approval, taking into account the development stage of the proposal. Provided the business case passes this assessment, it will progress to IAF assessment.


    1. Before a funding proposal with business case is submitted for inclusion in an RLTP and for funding approval, the approved organisation or Waka Kotahi (state highways) is required to provide an assessment of its proposed activity under the IAF.
    2. Waka Kotahi will first assess the business case to provide assurance that a robust case has been developed under BCA principles. 
    3. Provided the business case is robust, Waka Kotahi will then assess it under the IAF.
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  • Requirements for inclusion in the NLTP

    Waka Kotahi needs to be confident a proposal satisfies a number of criteria before including it in the NLTP for funding approval.

    Inclusion of an activity in the NLTP requires that:

    • a fit-for-purpose business case has been developed to the level appropriate to the stage of development of the activity
    • assessment of the business case has been completed by Waka Kotahi and rated as Pass or Rework
    • sufficient evidence has been used to justify the activity, depending on its stage of development
    • the activity is included in a regional land transport plan (RLTP), or is a proposed Road Policing Programme, or is part of a Waka Kotahi nationally delivered programme
    • the problem/issue/opportunity is clearly identified in a strategic business case
    • the requirements of the Land Transport Management Act 2003 have been met, that the activity:
      • is assessed by the organisation that proposes it
      • identifies the objective or policy to which it will contribute
      • provides an estimate of the total cost and the cost for each year
      • shows its expected duration (automatically generated from the cash-flow plan in TIO),
      • shows any proposed sources of funding other than the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF)
      • provides any other relevant information.
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  • Requirements for NLTF funding

     Seeking approval for funding from the NLTF requires all the above, plus:

    • the proposed activity or programme is eligible for NLTF funding (consistent with the GPS activity class definition and the Waka Kotahi work category definition)
    • all required information is provided in TIO and has been checked for completeness
    • the proposal is ready to proceed. 
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Developing assessment profiles

Waka Kotahi organises the information relating to developing assessment profiles by activity class groupings, and provides guidance on each of the two factors – results alignment and cost–benefit appraisal – within the groupings.


  • Ratings

    A rating greater than low for results alignment or a rating above low for cost–benefit appraisal does not guarantee funding. The combined ratings for results alignment and cost–benefit appraisal are required to get an overall ranking.

    While a cost–benefit appraisal rating of low will be taken into account in the ranking, Waka Kotahi also looks at other factors in the proposal, such as relevance to government strategy through results alignment. It may also, as an exception, consider a proposal with a benefit-cost ratio of less than 1, where evidence demonstrates the proposal has wider value when assessed against GPS results.

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Results alignment

Assessment of results alignment considers how the problem, issue or opportunity identified in the strategic case aligns with the results sought under the GPS in terms of safety, access and environment, without regard to the possible solution.

Assessment is at an activity class grouping level and considers criteria that align to the GPS results, rating the alignment from low to very high.


  • What the assessment considers

    The assessment considers how the problem/issue/opportunity is significant:

    • in relation to the desired GPS result(s)
    • in relation to the scale of the gap to the appropriate customer level of service or performance measure
    • as part of an end-to-end journey
    • from a national perspective (given local, regional, national perspectives)
    • from a community perspective in regard to access to social and economic opportunities
    • in relation to GPS timeframes ie a significant issue/opportunity within 3/10/10+ years.

    Any potential need for investment comes from either addressing a level of service gap and/or system performance gap or opportunity in delivering the appropriate level of service, or from maintaining the appropriate level of service.

    Refer to customer level of service below.

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  • Approach for results alignment criteria

    The results alignment criteria are defined in each assessment of the activity class page and follow the approach in the table below:

    GPS priority




    Very high


    Continuous programmes: a higher level of service than required

    Improvements: a gap in required levels of service

    Continuous programmes: a fit-for-purpose level of service

    Improvements: an identified gap of some significance in required levels of services

    Continuous programmes: a gap in existing levels of service

    Improvements: a significant gap in a targeted regional or national context

    Links directly to specific priority results sought in the GPS

    Access – thriving regions

    Access – liveable cities


    Waka Kotahi has combined the assessment criteria for activity classes where this makes sense. In some cases, the criteria in each table apply only to certain components of the activity classes: eg public transport improvements and continuous programmes are assessed using different criteria, even though they are part of the same public transport activity class.

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Customer levels of service

The appropriate service level for each part of the transport system should be defined by its relevant framework or benchmarks.

A gap in the levels of service is defined as the difference between the appropriate level of service and the current level of service. 

Evidence is required to support the level of service gap.


  • Level of service frameworks

    The One Network Road Classification (ONRC) defines nationally consistent customer levels of service. Over time, all roads in a particular category should offer an increasingly consistent fit-for-purpose customer level of service for users. Identifying a gap to the ONRC customer levels of service is a key input into the assessment of results alignment for road maintenance and improvements.

    No nationally consistent level of service or classification yet exists for public transport or walking and cycling. In these activity classes we use proxies to determine the significance of the problem, issue or opportunity including the geographical classification such as main urban areas or primary routes. We have provided reference frameworks at the bottom of this web page.

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  • Definition of level of service gaps

    The level of service gaps are defined as follows:

    • Significant gap: 
      Evidence shows that there is significant under performance in at least one key aspect resulting in performance lower than its classification and the gap between this and the appropriate service levels or system performance significantly impacts on the customer experience. This will have been robustly defined against appropriate levels of service (or other proxy) relevant to the issue.

      When using the ONRC if the level of service fails to meet the expectations for the road classification below the classification of the road in question, then there is a significant gap.
    • Identified gap:
      Evidence shows there is a gap in service level or system performance that does not meaningfully meet at least one or more aspect described in its classification, intended use or function.

      When using the ONRC if the level of service fails to meet the expectations for the road classification of the road in question, then it is an identified gap.
    • Addresses an issue:
      Evidence shows that the level of service or system performance materially achieves all aspects described in its classification. The value of benefits and change to levels of service or system performance are not significant or robustly defined.

    During preparation of a business case, there may be situations where critical thinking through the business case approach uncovers no strong evidence that a gap in levels of service or system performance exists. This is a perfectly acceptable outcome to Waka Kotahi and could, in fact, suggest the system is running optimally.

    Also during the preparation of the business case, service levels may be shown to be above expectations. This amounts to a system performance gap and further effort may be needed to assess the significance of this gap and consider system performance and optimisation.

    Significance of customer level of service gaps

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  • Evidence required

    Evidence is needed to support the significance of the gap.

    The problem and benefits should have been described in the strategic case with reference to appropriate levels of service. Evidence collected about the current performance compared with the expected performance will help define a gap, if any.

    Supporting evidence will show that:

    • the right level of service framework is being used to define the gap
    • the framework is being used appropriately for the activity
    • current system performance expectations or customer levels of service are not being met
    • the benefits will deliver an improvement in levels of service or system performance
    • the benefits are significant in terms of GPS priorities.
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Benefits management

From August 2020, business cases that enter Point of Entry must select all benefits from the new benefits framework, as outlined in the Land transport benefits framework and management approach: guidelines.  Both monetised and non-monetised benefits and measures will be used in the assessment process from this time onwards. Additional benefits outside of the framework may be considered where they are materially different from the available set.

Cost-benefit appraisal

The cost–benefit appraisal is the current evaluation tool for assessing the efficiency of proposed investments, and comparing the benefits with the inputs (primarily costs) used to achieve the benefits.

Waka Kotahi prioritises investments made through the NLTP and ensures that these achieve value for money. Value for money is a GPS strategic priority and is expected to support the key GPS priorities of safety and access.


  • The role of value for money in the GPS

    The GPS emphasises value for money to maximise the impact of money spent to achieve the government’s outcomes.

    Achievement of value for money will be supported through decision makers taking account of:

    1. the full range of benefits and costs over the whole life of investments
    2. alignment to the GPS priorities.

    The GPS expects that achieving value for money will place greater emphasis on transparent investment decision making, and seeks to ensure that investments are made at the best cost for the best outputs and outcomes. It also identifies a need to investigate the appropriateness of current evaluation practices to ensure they are fit for purpose in giving effect to GPS strategic priorities.

    Waka Kotahi is currently undertaking an investigation of the effectiveness of its current evaluation practices and provide the outcomes for consideration in the second stage GPS.

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Cost–benefit appraisal for improvement activities

For improvement activities the cost–benefit appraisal assessment methodology normally requires determination of a benefit–cost ratio (BCR). In demonstrating that improvement investments will achieve value for money, the GPS expects that investment proposals included and prioritised in the NLTP will achieve a BCR of greater than 1.


  • Benefit–cost ratio

    The BCR is the primary tool used to measure the efficiency of improvement activities.

    All improvement activities other than low cost, low risk improvements and specified exceptions (see below) should be supported by the provision of a robust BCR that takes all reasonably quantifiable benefits into account.

    Waka Kotahi requires that approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (state highways) use the Waka Kotahi Monetised benefits and costs manual (from August 2020) and Economic evaluation manual (superseded August2020) procedures and templates to determine the BCR for improvement activities.

    Waka Kotahi may, at its discretion, consider any non-monetised benefits to determine whether the total of monetary and non-monetary benefits outweigh costs. It may also consider the incidence and relevance of benefits and costs in the context of individual proposals.

    The cost-benefit appraisal rating for different BCR ranges is shown below:

    BCR range

    Cost–benefit appraisal rating

    BCR = 10 or more

    All activities with BCR greater than or equal to 10 are in this band

    Very high

    BCR = 5–9.9

    All activities with BCR greater than or equal to 5 and below 10 are in this band.


    BCR = 3–4.9

    All activities with BCR greater than or equal to 3 and below 5 are in this band


    BCR = 1–2.9

    All activities with BCR greater than or equal to 1 and below 3 are in this band


    BCR = 0–0.9

    All activities with BCR greater than or equal to 0 and below 1 are in this band. Projects with a very low cost–benefit appraisal rating will only be approved for inclusion in the NLTP or for funding by exception.

    Very low / excluded

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  • Insufficient information (low*)

    An activity can be included in the NLTP when no cost–benefit appraisal has been made or when robust evidence is lacking to support the assessment. In such cases the rating for a cost–benefit appraisal will default to low*. Waka Kotahi represents these activities as  L* to indicate that more information is required to achieve a robust assessment profile.

    An activity will not be considered for funding approval with an L* status.

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  • Exceptions

    Cost–benefit appraisal is not required for some activities.

    Activities which are not required to calculate a cost–benefit appraisal include:

    • individual low cost, low risk improvements activities, when included in the low cost, low risk improvements allocation
    • transport planning activities, under work categories 001, 002, 003 and 004
    • road safety promotion activities with a total cost of $1 million or less
    • Total Mobility activities, under work categories 517, 519 and 521
    • SuperGold Card concessions.
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  • Use of placeholder, generic or default BCR

    In specific cases generic or default BCRs may be used in lieu of a calculated BCR for the activity. These are:

    • Stock effluent facilities – a generic BCR of 12 may be applied to a stock effluent facility identified in the 2008 National Stock Effluent Strategy, instead of a calculated BCR.
    • Projects which are evaluated on a whole of life, net cost present value basis, eg bridge renewals have a default present value end of life (PVEOL). This is applied to an activity instead of a calculated BCR and the activity will be ranked as very high for cost-benefit appraisal.  However, where an improvement component exists in such a project, it must be supported by a calculated BCR. The present value evidence must be attached in TIO to support the PVEOL rating.
    • Low cost, low risk improvement programmes –a generic rating of medium may be applied provided the Waka Kotahi is satisfied:
      • the activities proposed in the programme target medium and/or high results alignment
      •  the programme will be targeted to GPS outcomes
      • the activities represent reasonable value for money.

    No other placeholder, generic or default BCRs should be used.

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  • Standard safety interventions

    A streamlined investment pathway is available for applying for funding approval for standard safety interventions on projects valued between $1 million and $50 million.

    For each intervention, a full BCR range has been calculated based on the Safe and Appropriate Speed as ‘Do Minimum’ approach, with inclusion of travel time disbenefit and vehicle operating costs.

     Please refer to the Standard Safety Intervention Toolkit for details.

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Non-monetised benefit measures

Non-monetised benefits are required alongside monetised benefits for business cases that undertake Point of Entry from August 2020. All benefits and associated non-monetised measures must be selected from the benefits framework, as outlined in Land transport benefits framework and management approach: guidelines. Details of the non-monetised measures are available in the Non-monetised benefits manual (from August 2020).

Other benefits and factors

Other benefits and additional factors may be considered.


  • Other benefits and factors

     Other benefits and additional factors that may be considered:

    • Additional benefits:
      Additional monetised benefits are benefits that are not specifically covered by the Waka Kotahi Monetised benefits and costs manual (from August 2020) and Economic evaluation manual (superseded August 2020). Waka Kotahi may consider additional monetised benefits as reasonable and may determine a higher rating as a result. Alternatively, it may consider the additional benefits should be presented as part of sensitivity analysis that will not impact on the rating.
    • Discounting of benefits or dis-benefits:
      In certain situations some benefits, or dis-benefits, may be discounted from cost-benefit appraisal at Waka Kotahi discretion, where, in the context of the affected transport network, they are of minimal impact or significance.
    • Additional factors:
      Waka Kotahi may consider any exceptional additional factors not otherwise captured by the two assessment factors, including additional economic and community benefits. These will be specific to the activity or combination of activities being assessed and relevant to determining the overall priority and funding source in the programme. Evidence will be required if additional factors are to be considered.  
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Cost–benefit appraisal for continuous programmes

Waka Kotahi assesses continuous programmes, eg road maintenance, existing public transport services, and promotion of road safety programmes, with a cost–benefit appraisal rating based on their relative cost effectiveness, established through peer group and sector benchmarking comparison.


  • Ratings

    The cost-benefit ratings for continuous programmes are:

    • Low – when cost effectiveness or performance shows below-average efficiency
    • Medium – when cost effectiveness or performance shows average efficiency
    • High – when cost effectiveness or performance shows above-average efficiency.
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  • Methodologies

    Cost efficiency benchmarking is the main cost–benefit appraisal methodology for assessing continuous programmes as a whole, and the activities within them.

    Levels of service performance comparisons are set against required customer levels of service and trend analysis (past and future costs and demands).

    The  methods are:

    Present value method (PV)


    The PV of future costs of options are determined and compared to identify the long-term least cost option.

    The method is recommended to determine if replacement/renewal is more cost effective than ongoing maintenance. Where the future costs of the do-minimum option exceeds the costs of replacement/renewal, the net present value of the option can be assessed in the cost–benefit appraisal as the best PV end of life approach.

    In certain cases, it may be more appropriate to use benefit streams rather than future costs.

    Cost effectiveness method

    Cost effectiveness analysis is used where the objective is to compare the cost of different ways of achieving a given effect (eg level of service), or to compare the relative cost of different strategies with different effects.

    This approach evaluates the cost–benefit appraisal of public transport, maintenance, or road safety promotion programmes by comparing a programme with similar programmes for other organisations.

    Benchmarking method

    This approach involves making comparisons of programme benchmarking and key performance measures against peer groups, similar regions and the national average. A lack of evidence to support differences in peer group, regional and national averages may result in a lower cost–benefit appraisal rating for the programme. Alternatively it may result in a requirement for a review of the supporting business case as a condition of investment approval.

    Trends in benchmarking measures over time are used rather than just annual values.

    Marginal contribution method

    The marginal contribution of programme expansions and incremental new services will be considered through benchmarking and key performance measures. The cost-effectiveness of the changes will be considered as well.

    For specific guidance relevant to activity class groupings see Assessment of activities by activity class

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Assessment of safety improvement activities

The current Waka Kotahi evaluation methodology can result in some worthy safety projects being assessed with a very low priority due to not meeting the previous expectation of a BCR greater than 1, eg the high cost of some safety interventions and the negative impact on travel time in some cases, which override the safety benefits.

However, safety is a key priority in the GPS, which signals a requirement for a significant increase in the level of ambition for delivering a land transport system free of death and serious injury (DSI).

The GPS now provides greater flexibility to Waka Kotahi in its investment decision making and application of the cost-benefit appraisal. It provides explicit recognition that programme level evaluations can take place to ensure optimal investment decisions for complex outcomes such as safety, access and other specific government priorities.

Waka Kotahi will develop criteria for deciding when programme level evaluations should take place, and will transparently report when and why programme level evaluations have taken place.


  • How the IAF enables safety outcomes

    The IAF assessment methodology enables programmes of safety projects to be included in the 2018-21 NLTP to deliver the change in safety outcomes sought in the GPS by:

    1 - Allowing for assessment and investment decisions to be made at a programme rather than individual project level:

    • Currently packages of inter-related and inter-dependent activities submitted for funding consideration are able to include activities with BCR <1.0 provided the overall package demonstrates delivery of net positive benefits that exceed whole of life costs and all the components of the package have been completed.
    • The new policy enables the same approach as for packages to be taken for programmes of work when the components of the programme are seeking to deliver a common outcome but they are not necessarily inter-related or inter-dependent.
    • The policy also establishes the mechanism to allow inclusion of activities that are highly effective in achieving GPS priorities but have a BCR <1.0 into a programme, provided the overall programme demonstrates delivery of net positive benefits that exceed whole of life costs.

    2 - Providing clarification of the ‘do nothing’ and ‘do minimum’ option for economic appraisal of speed management activities.

    In this situation, the ‘do minimum’ option will be set at the safe and appropriate speed under the Speed management guide(external link). The ‘do nothing’ option is the existing baseline conditions of the network, based on the existing speed limit and existing infrastructure and services. It forms the basis for assessing the effects of a safe and appropriate speed limit in the ‘do minimum’ option. For some situations the best safety improvement option may be to simply lower the operating speed to a safe and appropriate level through the use of speed limit signs and minor infrastructure improvements that go with the new speed limits – this will be the do minimum option and can potentially be the preferred option to enable safety improvements.

    3 - Travel time changes sensitivity testing

    For the treatment of travel time changes, Waka Kotahi expects the evaluation of all activities and/or programmes to include the calculations of all positive and negative benefits. Where the travel time changes are neither significant nor relevant, it may be appropriate to provide sensitivity testing excluding travel time changes.

    Guidance for the 2018-21 NLTP will be subject to change once the results are available from research that is planned during 2018/19 for implementation in the 2021-24 NLTP.

    In all instances where any proposal (standalone project, or an activity within a programme) has a BCR <1.0, funding for these will only be approved by exception at the appropriate level of delegation.

    For selecting the best safety investment option for a project, incremental economic cost-benefit appraisal continues to be required. 

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Reviewing and updating the assessed profile

Approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (state highways) must review the assessment profile assigned to their individual activities at each stage of the activity’s development and update it as necessary to reflect the latest information and any changed circumstances.

An activity’s profile assessed at the time of inclusion in the NLTP must be confirmed by Waka Kotahi prior to any investment and funding decision. This may result in a reduced profile if Waka Kotahi considers the evidence to be insufficient or that the risks around delivery of the activity’s outcomes are too high. 

Peer review

Waka Kotahi reserves the right to require a peer review of an investment proposal.

From 31 August 2020, Waka Kotahi requires a peer review of improvement activity business cases with estimated whole-of-life costs over $15 million or that involves a significant level of risk.

Approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (state highways) are encouraged to have small projects (between $1m and $15m implementation cost) peer reviewed in certain circumstances. Refer to the peer review guidelines for further information.

  • Peer review superseded 31 August 2020

    Waka Kotahi reserves the right to require a peer review of an investment proposal.

    Currently, Waka Kotahi requires a peer review of improvement activity business cases with a likely implementation cost of over $5 million or that involves a significant level of risk.

    Approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (state highways) are encouraged to have small projects (between $1m and $5m implementation cost) peer reviewed in certain circumstances. Refer to the peer review guidelines for further information.

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Reference frameworks

The IAF references a number of Waka Kotahi and external and international best-practice performance measurement frameworks, specifically addressing one or more activity classes.


  • Road safety strategy and Safer Journeys

    Safer Journeys(external link) is the government’s strategy to guide improvements in road safety during the period 2010-2020. The strategy’s vision is a safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury and introduces the safe system approach to New Zealand. In May 2016 the third and final Safer Journeys action plan 2016–2020(external link) was released.

    The safe system approach recognises that people make mistakes and are vulnerable in a crash. It reduces the price paid for a mistake so crashes do not result in loss of life or limb. Mistakes are inevitable – deaths and serious injuries from road crashes are not.

    Significant progress has been made under the two previous action plans across all key areas of the safe system. This includes initiatives such as:

    • raising public awareness through advertising campaigns
    • lowering blood alcohol levels
    • making our high-risk roads safer through rumble strips and median barriers
    • mandating electronic stability control for light vehicles.

    Many initiatives will continue as a core part of the policies and decision making of various agencies.

    However, there are still areas where progress towards a safe road system needs more momentum. The third action plan will renew focus on areas of greatest risk and disproportionate harm, and present opportunities for the use of current and emerging technologies. In particular, this action plan’s focus (and specific objectives) is to:

    • enable smart and safe choices on the road (particularly through technology enablement)
    • make motorcycling safer (road environment, education and technology to address crash severity)
    • ensure roads and roadsides support safer travel (highest risk roads including local urban arterials, head-on, run-off road and intersection crashes, and open road crashes)
    • encourage safe vehicles (technology and vehicle safety standards).

    Examples of investment in primary safe system treatments that reduce the risk of:

    • head-on and run-off road crashes (such as through the installation of median and side barriers)
    • urban and rural intersection crashes (such as through the installation of roundabouts or speed management devices)
    • harm to vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, mobility impaired (such as through segregated facilities, markings or speed management devices, including raised platforms at roundabouts, traffic signals and pedestrian facilities)
    • lower cost safety interventions such as improved skid resistance, signs and markings (including rumble strips), safety targeted seal widening and speed management
    • maintenance to ensure these safe system treatments remain fit for purpose
    • rail safety, including to partner with KiwiRail to upgrade level crossings.
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  • One Network Road Classification

    The One Network Road Classification (ONRC) has been adopted by the sector to ensure national consistency around the levels of service delivered by a network. Road Efficiency Group (REG), including Waka Kotahi, has developed a suite of 27 performance measures to support the next phase of implementing ONRC in the 2018–2021 NLTP.

    All approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (state highways) are required to provide evidence of the customer levels of service they propose to deliver and how they relate to the ONRC measures.

    Maintenance programme submissions from approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (state highways) may be supported by and take account of a wider set of performance measures than those currently mandated in support of the ONRC. For example an approved organisation may wish to support their submission with their long-term plan (LTP) measures in addition to the ONRC measures. Consideration of funding allocations for maintenance programmes in the 2018–21 NLTP will be based primarily on assessment of the transport network performance to be achieved as measured against the ONRC.

    Waka Kotahi expects further development of the suite of performance measures will continue during the 2018–21 NLTP and lead to a broader set of specific performance targets for investment for the 2021–24 NLTP.

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  • Public transport

    For public transport ‘levels of service’ refers to a range of factors from service frequency to quality and placement of public transport infrastructure such as bus stops. Determining the appropriate level of service for public transport, unlike roads, is not subject to a national standard. For the purposes of determining whether there is a gap in current levels of service factors, the following could be considered:

    • Land use and density – do services link residential areas with commercial/social/employment centres (ie places where people want to go) and does the public transport network reflect future land use intentions?
    • Existing services – does demand exceed supply of services? Is there a need to increase service levels to meet demand?
    • Congestion – are there congested parts of the roading network that an increase in public transport service levels could help alleviate?
    • Transport disadvantaged – do existing public transport service levels provide an adequate modal alternative to travelling by private vehicle?
    • Hours of service – do the hours of operation enable travel at times people want to travel?
    • Customer information – does the level of customer information provided meet customer expectation?
    • Reliability – can users rely on the service to consistently arrive on time at a stop, and/or will the journey take longer than scheduled? For example, a reliable service means a person does not need to allocate extra time waiting at a bus stop for travel just in case a bus is early or late and can be confident they will arrive at their destination on time.

    A draft Guidelines for public transport infrastructure [PDF, 2.2 MB] provides for bus stops and facilities at bus stops. Waka Kotahi recommends use of the draft document to guide appropriate levels of service at bus stops. We are actively engaged in considering the wider public transport infrastructure levels of service and guidelines.

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  • Walking and cycling network guidance

    Waka Kotahi continues to recommend use of the Cycle network guidance –  planning and design (CNG) to guide appropriate levels of service to determine what is fit for purpose on target corridors when considering new cycling facilities. A New Zealand level of service tool for cycling is under development.  In the interim the CNG recommends using the Austroads levels of service tool.

    The CNG aims to promote a consistent, best-practice approach to cycling network and route planning throughout New Zealand. It sets out a principles-based process for deciding what cycling provision is desirable, and provides best-practice guidance for the design of cycleways.

    Regional transport committees and approved organisations need to have a clear understanding of who the cycling programme is targeting, what level of service is required in delivering the activity or activities, and how different activities might complement each other to maximise the benefits of investment.

    The main factors influencing levels of service relate to safety, comfort, delays which consider network characteristics such as traffic volumes and speed, degree of separation from motor traffic, facility width, etc.  

    For walking, Waka Kotahi recommends using  the Pedestrian planning and design guide along with the Austroads levels of service tool. For existing situations the Community street review (external link)process is also recommended and for new designs the Pedestrian levels of service prediction tool in NZTA research report 452 Predicting walkability.

    The full reference for the Austroads levels of service tool is: ‘Level of service metrics for network operations planning (AP-R475-15)’.

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  • Major metros

    The GPS identifies the following as ‘major metropolitan areas’ for the purposes of land transport planning:

    • Northern Auckland zone
    • Western Auckland zone
    • Central Auckland zone
    • Southern Auckland zone
    • Hamilton zone
    • Tauranga
    • Porirua zone
    • Upper Hutt zone
    • Lower Hutt zone
    • Wellington zone
    • Christchurch
    • Dunedin (urban area only).

    Waka Kotahi has identified Queenstown as a specific high-growth urban area given similarities in its transport requirements to those in the major metropolitan areas, and therefore the application of the IAF criteria is treated in the same way as for major metropolitan areas.

    The combined group is referred to as 'major metros' in the IAF criteria.

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  • High growth urban area

    ‘High-growth urban area’ means any urban area (as defined by Statistics New Zealand in 2016) that has either:

    • a resident population of over 30,000 people according to the most recent Statistics New Zealand urban area resident population estimates


    • at any point in the year a combined resident population and visitor population of over 30,000 people, using the most recent Statistics New Zealand urban area resident population estimates


    • in which the resident population of that urban area is projected to grow by more than 10% between 2013 to 2023, according to the most recent Statistics New Zealand medium urban area population projections for 2013(base)-2023.

    This definition is from the National policy statement on urban development capacity (NPS-UDC) 2016.

    Areas currently listed as in the NPS-UDC high growth urban areas:

    • Auckland
    • Christchurch
    • Hamilton
    • New Plymouth
    • Tauranga
    • Queenstown
    • Whangarei.
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  • Medium growth urban area

    ‘Medium-growth urban area’ means any urban area (as defined by Statistics New Zealand in 2016) that has either:

    • has resident population of over 30,000 people according to the most recent Statistics New Zealand urban area resident population estimates


    • in which the resident population of that urban area is projected to grow by between 5% and 10% between 2013 to 2023, according to the most recent Statistics New Zealand medium urban area population projections for 2013(base)-2023.

    This definition is from the National policy statement on urban development capacity 2016 (NPS-UDC).

    Areas currently listed as in the NPS-UDC medium growth urban areas:

    • Dunedin
    • Gisborne
    • Kapiti
    • Marlborough
    • Napier-Hastings
    • Nelson
    • Palmerston North
    • Rotorua
    • Wellington.
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