Business Case Approach to project development

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency uses the Business Case Approach (BCA) as the basis for activity and programme development for investment through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP). In 2023 we refreshed our BCA guidance to ensure it's up-to-date and to provide more information about the five-case model as well as the business case phases.

Business Case Approach guidance

We’ve consolidated information for Waka Kotahi projects with guidance for all BCA users. Technical requirements for Waka Kotahi can now be found on our references and standards page.

References and standards for the Business Case Approach

For further information contact the Business Case Process team at

Planning and Investment Knowledge Base

The Waka Kotahi Planning and Investment Knowledge Base (PIKB) sets out the operational policy and processes for developing and implementing the NLTP, to give effect to the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS).

Planning and Investment Knowledge Base

Policy, standards and guidelines development and ratification processes

Purpose statement

Transport Services is applying a work planning process across the sector to ensure that the programme of development of operational policies and standards meets the needs of our customers, properly targets the priorities for improvement or replacement and maintains the quality of the sector intellectual property assets.


The goal of Transport Services in this is to use an agreed process to recommend to the sector work plans that include a programme of implementation of new or changed policies and standards, or the archiving and replacement of outdated policies and standards. The aim of the work planning is to give better recognition to our sector users’ and customers’ needs, by better targeting of priorities and resources and to result in outcomes that will:

  • provide better opportunities for all sector users and customers to address needs;
  • deliver what is needed at the right time;
  • aim to fill the gaps in current sector policies and standards in order of customer need and delivering the biggest wins first;
  • look to build in innovation and technology change;
  • be fit for purpose across the wider industry; and
  • be clear on what is wanted and who needs to be engaged in the process.

Ratification process

Delegation BR141 requires the Senior Manager Operational Policy, Planning and Performance to ratify changes to the policies and standards. A revised process was developed to execute this delegation in the new organisation with its new strategic approach, and the new practices, roles and accountabilities of the new operating model.

While the delegation is for internal change, with the changes to the performance metrics for Waka Kotahi, Transport Services needs to look at the expansion of its standards development process across other roads and agencies and ensure they encompass broader definitions of value for money and customer levels of service. This will involve the inclusion of the Research and Guidelines Steering Group of the Road Controlling Authorities Forum in the process.

The reason for ratification is to ensure that the policy we register meets our value for money requirements. The corollary is that all documents on the register have been ratified and no document should be referenced in our works unless it is on our register. The current task is to tidy up the register to be fit for purpose. The mandate for doing this is to ensure that our works are done properly to the correct standards. The aim of this work to improve these processes is to ensure in future that only policies and standards that have been ratified are used in guiding our outputs.

The steps of the process are as set out in the Standards and Guidelines Development Process with the further clarification in the descriptions of the steps as detailed behind. The suggested outline is a business case process and the first two steps are the scope development to fuel the business case and right size what we plan to do. We need to be clear about the starting gates for the process. The projects to apply resources to should be established in our business plan and our business plan appropriate to the things we do.

Standards and Guidelines Development Process [DOCX, 60 KB]

There is a need to target the correct scale of the process to the scale of the proposed change(s) so that the requirements must be a fit for purpose approach. Trivial changes, such as purely administrative changes or changes to product lists from manufacturers who come or go in the market, must not go through an unnecessarily significant process. Where we want to apply resources is to substantive items.

For further information talk to the lead adviser or practice manager for your technical discipline.

Technical Advice Notes (TAN) process

One of the purposes that TANs are being used for is to apply technical changes ahead of a standard or guideline update. Often these changes are made under urgency and the level of analysis being applied at the time needs to exhibit the same degree of care applied to standards development so that these changes are affordable and continue to deliver value for money.

Despite the need at times to abbreviate the process there still needs to be an appropriate level of rigour applied, but again to an appropriate scale of effort based on the significance of likely impacts. It is agreed to apply a process to ensure that this happens and initially the Interim TAN Proposed Development Process is to be used for this.

Interim TAN Proposed Development Process [DOCX, 58 KB]

Guidance was requested as to what level of significance might be applied to decide the level of rigour required for approval of a TAN. An interim guideline in the form of a decision tree has been developed to provide some assistance. Your feedback is needed to help develop further guidance to better establish the parameters for making these decisions.

Interim guideline in the form of a decision tree [DOCX, 118 KB]

For further information talk to the lead adviser or practice manager for your technical discipline.

Please send your feedback on any of these processes to