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Infrastructure Sustainability Rating System 

August 2017

Dear Stakeholder,

The Transport Agency is committed to the continued application of Greenroads certification to high value state highway projects. We would also like to better understand the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) tool and its application to the wider transport system. 
On this basis we plan to commence a trial in late 2017 using the ISCA tool on a small number of projects to investigate its use and to develop a working knowledge of this particular tool. This represents a change from the Transport Agency position of having a watching brief of the ISCA tool to becoming a member of ISCA and undertaking trials. Please note that the trialling of the ISCA rating tool is not being initiated as a replacement tool.

In the medium term, the Transport Agency is looking to develop a robust and long term Environmental Strategy and intends to provide more direction around sustainability rating tools within this document. Please note there has currently been no review or decisions of the use of sustainability rating tools as part of our investment decision making processes for Road Controlling Authorities. 

We are expecting our first Greenroads certified project (Mingha Bluff) at the end of 2017/start of 2018 post completion. 

Harry Wilson
Director Safety and Environment Group

About Infrastructure sustainability rating systems

Infrastructure sustainability rating systems essentially assess the environmental and social credentials of a given infrastructure project, providing a richer picture of their real public value.

Infrastructure providers worldwide are increasingly using infrastructure sustainability rating systems to provide a consistent method of assessing, achieving, comparing and communicating the positive environmental and social outcomes associated with infrastructure projects. These systems are being applied to a variety of sectors including water, energy and transport.

The benefits of using rating systems and tools include:

  • Benchmarking of performance (by an independent third party)
  • Project teams are recognised for the outcomes they achieve
  • Communication of benefits (highlighting environmental and social outcomes)
  • Raising the sustainability profile of projects and project partners
  • Sharing of ideas at the project and industry level 
  • Innovation and enhanced environmental and social outcomes.


The Greenroads Rating System is an international sustainability rating system specifically relevant and weighted for surface transportation infrastructure projects. The Transport Agency is using Greenroads to assess the sustainability performance of high value state highway improvement projects during design and construction. Greenroads International, an independent non-profit organisation, provides a rigorous review of an entire project through its project planning, design and construction. 

Construction project teams lead the Certification process with intent to earn an as-built Certification award by delivering a project that meets the performance measures stated in the Rating System. Greenroads staff assess the project’s performance against mandatory Project Requirements and a range of sustainability categories covering environmental, social and economic aspects. Additional information can be found at link) or by contacting the Technical Services Team at

By using Greenroads, the Transport Agency builds its understanding of how state highway environmental, social and economic outcomes rate against an international framework (what ‘good’ looks like) and can communicate these outcomes to interested parties. Greenroads allows project teams to be recognised for the outcomes that they achieve.

The use of Greenroads was agreed by Transport Agency management in January 2015. At that time the Transport Agency completed a detailed review and comparison of the leading third-party sustainability rating tools. The decision to implement Greenroads was largely based on it being specifically roading focused. A pilot programme was undertaken between 2011 and 2014 on six state highway projects to confirm the Greenroads framework and calibrate the tool within a New Zealand context.

Information for project teams

What are the criteria used for determining which projects and programmes are suitable for Greenroads certification?

The criteria below are used to determine if Transport Agency’s Greenroads policy applies to a Transport Agency project or programme:

  • High value state highway improvement projects over $15 million in value.
  • Those projects using Design-Construct, Alliance and Public Private Partnership delivery models. 
  • Transport Agency owned.

In addition to the above Transport Agency criteria a project or programme will need to meet the Greenroads minimum eligibility criteria participation in the Greenroads program link).

What is the process for project teams seeking Greenroads certification?

Project phase Task Who Where Requirement
Single stage / Detailed business case stage
  • Requirement to seek Greenroads certification for D+C, Alliance and PPP contracts over $15 million included in detailed business case
  • Prepares self-assessment of Greenroads score (using available information)
NZTA project team Detailed business case report Highways information portal and Detailed business case template
Pre-implementation stage
  • Submit screening application to Greenroads
  • On boarding session for NZTA project team hosted by Greenroads if application is approved
  • Greenroads provides target score
  • Once project is consented - determine appropriate certification level 
  • Project registration

NZTA to undertake initial screening

NZTA to arrange on boarding session with project team (Greenroads to lead – via WebEx)

NZTA to determine certification level and to arrange independent verification if required.

NZTA to register project or delegate to project team

Implementation – tendering (detailed design and construction) Include in tendering documents requirement to certify and certification level.  Project services team Requirement for Greenroads certification included in principal requirements Tender
  • Prepare self-assessment of Greenroads score 
  • Develop proposed Greenroads management plan
Tenderers Greenroad self-assessment results to be provided as part of bid documentation  

Implementation – project delivery
(details design and construction)

Requirement to achieve proposed target for Greenroads certification and prepare and submit bi-annual monitoring questionnaire Successful tenderer – work with Greenroads  Included as a minimum requirement in project plans and programme Contractual agreement
Maintain and operation Monitor Greenroads certification outcomes and report for 5 years NZTA TBC Construct to operate handover

NZ Transport Agency Forevergreen Greenroads membership

The NZ Transport Agency is a Forevergreen member of Greenroads. The Forevergreen membership entitles the NZ Transport Agency to a number of benefits. This includes:

  • Free Rating System online access 
  • Unlimited office hours for phone support and guidance
  • Registration fee waivers for Transport Agency projects

These benefits can be passed on to project teams working on Transport Agency projects. To enable this an agreement needs to be signed by a project team so they can act on behalf of the Transport Agency.

Who is the owner of Greenroads projects?

The NZ Transport Agency is the ‘owner’ of Greenroads projects and has oversight of the process but, as outlined above, may delegate tasks to the Project team. The construction project team lead the certification process on behalf of the ‘owner’.

Payment of Greenroads certification fees

The construction project team is required to pay for certification fees related to the project. Payment is made as per agreed with Greenroads through the payment plan and submittal schedule.

A project team can use the certification fees calculator on the Greenroads website link) to gain an estimate of how much certification fees will be for budgeting purposes.

What does it cost – resourcing and other considerations?

There will also be costs incurred by the Project for the time and resources it takes to develop and submit the documentation and evidence required by Greenroads and to respond to any outstanding matters. Some additional investigation of options to meet Greenroads credits may be required or desired although it is anticipated that many credits will be achieved as part of good design practice and construction methods. Aligning the project early with Greenroads will help avoid costly rework and reduce the Greenroads implementation costs. Efficiency is greatly improved if someone who understands Greenroads embeds Greenroads requirements into project processes and documentation.

Does the Transport Agency specify target Greenroads credits?

Not to date – the Transport Agency may however at any time decide to mandate specific credits that must be achieved by selected projects.

How do I get a copy of the Greenroads Rating System?

Please visit link).

How do I get support?

Feedback through the rating process

At each submittal that project team receives feedback on what has been submitted and specific credits being sought. Please note that there are a fixed number of submittals expected for each programme as determined by the agreed schedule/plan.

Credit technical questions

The following are for questions that require responses outside of the rating process. Please note that Greenroads is Seattle based therefore there is a time difference.

The Errata to the rating system The Errata provides a number of technical clarifications.
The Dr Greenroads support tool This is the preferred tool for submitting requests. When submitting requests please provide some contextual information and a single clear question per request. No private information should be posted as this tool provides a running list of questions which are available to everyone.
Website technical support  Technical support can be used for login and display issues on the Greenroads website. Responses to technical requests are generally made within 48 hours. Contact
Project Workspace All other questions can be posted through Project Workspace. These will be private to the project team. If an immediate response is required then it is suggested that a verbal response is sought.
Verbal support and guidance

This is available by phone by appointment and Greenroads have open office hours every Thursday morning (NZ time and day), and introductory webinars twice per month on New Zealand Fridays.

Phone: 0014253760685

Interface between Greenroads, the NZ Transport Agency and Project teams

Please note that usually the greatest Transport Agency input is required within the planning/establishment phase.  Once project teams are contractually required to gain Greenroads certification they will work with Greenroads to gain certification.

Certified projects

The use of sustainability rating tools is a long term commitment by the Transport Agency. The Agency began its roll out of Greenroads on state highway projects in 2015. As certification can only be gained at the end of construction – to date there are no NZ Transport Agency projects that have been certified. We are expecting our first Greenroads certified project (Mingha Bluff) at the end of 2017/start of 2018 post completion.

What are the pilot projects and how did they perform?

The NZ Transport Agency commissioned pilot assessments for six state highway projects, between 2011 and 2014 to help understand how the Greenroads assessment works. The pilot projects used version 1.5 of Greenroads. These assessments identify the potential score and the type of credits that could be achieved on New Zealand projects.

These ratings were done retrospectively and with limited access to project teams and documents. They are an indication only and do not represent the final rating that these projects could have achieved had the Greenroads framework been implemented during their design and construction stages. A pilot project score is typically higher than for a fully certified project.

Greenroads evaluation tool

The Greenroads evaluation tool [XLSX, 34 KB] may be useful when assessing a project against Greenroads manual version 2.

Please note that the tool needs to be used in conjunction with the Greenroads manual.

For further information contact