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This section provides guidance for assessing public transport improvement activities over $300,000 implementation cost per activity that target a specific increase in levels of service in part of a public transport network.

The improvements activities within the public transport activity class incorporate the following work categories:

Further information on public transport improvements is provided in the Public Transport Improvements section.

Strategic fit for public transport improvements

Default strategic fit

By default, the strategic fit rating for public transport improvements is low.


Requirements for medium rating

A medium strategic fit rating may be given if, in the short to medium term, the problem, issue or opportunity is:

  • a service provision that does not meet forecast demand, including in and to main urban areas, within a region; OR
  • access to social and economic opportunities, particularly for those with limited access to a private vehicle; OR
  • a deficiency in reliability, or resilience in the transport system


Requirements for high rating

A public transport improvements activity must only be given a high strategic fit rating if, in addition to meeting the criteria for a medium rating, in the short to medium term, the problem, issue or opportunity is:

  • a service provision does not meet forecast demand on networks or corridors in major urban areas, OR
  • a deficiency in journey time reliability in major urban areas


Further information

Further information on Strategic Fit assessment is provided in the guidance on Developing an Assessment Profile.

Effectiveness for public transport improvements

Criteria for effectiveness

All six criteria set out below are to be assessed for any programme or activity proposed for NLTP inclusion or funding approval. The explanations are a guide to assessment, highlighting aspects that need to be considered. If any of these aspects is not applicable to the activity then it should not form part of the assessment.

Criteria Explanation Rating
Outcomes focused
  • tangible change in addressing the problem, issue or opportunity identified in the Strategic Fit assessment
  • consistency with levels of service in an appropriate classification system where a classification system exists
  • consistency with the current network and future transport plans
  • consistency with other current and future activities
  • consistency with current and future land use planning
  • accommodates different needs across modes including the integration between public transport modes, e.g. bus to rail connections, if applicable
  • support as an agreed programme across partners, including public transport and other infrastructure improvements, operation and maintenance

Correctly scoped

  • the degree of fit as part of an agreed strategy or business case
  • has followed the intervention hierarchy to consider alternatives and options including low cost alternatives and options
  • is of an appropriate scale in relation to the issue/opportunity
  • covers and/or manages the spatial impact (upstream and downstream, network impacts)
  • mitigates any adverse impacts on other results


  • is affordable through the lifecycle for all parties
  • has understood and traded off the best whole of life cost approach
  • has understood the benefits and costs between transport users and other parties and sought contributions as possible
  • on-going impact on the costs of providing the public transport services programme are understood and accepted by all funding partners


  • delivers enduring benefits over the timeframe identified in the justified strategy or business case
  • provides the benefits in a timely manner


  • manages current and future risk for results/outcomes
  • manages current and future risk for costs


Assessment is based on lowest rating of all components L/M/H


Further information

Further information on Effectiveness assessment is provided in the section on Developing an Assessment Profile.

Benefit and cost appraisal for public transport improvements


The required benefit and cost appraisal methodology for public transport improvements is benefit-cost analysis and the required measure is the benefit-cost ratio (BCR).

The Transport Agency requires that Approved Organisations and the Transport Agency (state highways) use the Transport Agency Economic Evaluation Manual(external link) procedures and templates to determine the BCR for public transport improvement activities.



If the calculated BCR is below 1.0, then the activity is considered to be economically inefficient. In this case, no rating for benefit and cost appraisal will be given.

Assuming that the BCR is 1.0 or higher, the benefit and cost appraisal for public transport improvements falls into one of three bands:

BCR range 1- 3

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

BCR range 3 - 5

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

BCR range > 5

All activities with BCR greater than or equal to 5 are prioritised in this band.


Non-monetised benefits and additional benefits

Non-monetised benefits may be taken into account and, if the Transport Agency considers these benefits to be significant, may result in a higher rating.

Additional benefits are usually in the form of wider economic benefits that are not specifically covered by the Transport Agency’s Economic Evaluation Manual. Additional benefits may result in a higher rating or be presented as part of sensitivity analysis.


Use of generic or default BCR

No placeholder, generic or default BCRs are to be used.


Peer review

The Transport Agency reserves the right to require a peer review of benefit and cost appraisal determinations and measures, including any non-monetised/additional benefits and adverse impacts, regardless of the scope, prior to an investment decision.


Insufficient information (1*)

An activity can be included in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) when no benefit and cost appraisal has been made or when no robust evidence is lacking to support the assessment. In such cases the rating for benefit and cost appraisal will default to 1 for improvement activities. The Transport Agency represents these activities as 1* to indicate that more information is required to achieve a robust assessment profile.

An activity will not be considered for funding approval with a 1* status.


Further information

Further information on Benefit and Cost Appraisal is provided in the section on Developing an Assessment Profile.