Planning & Investment Knowledge Base

Planning to Project Delivery Process


This section introduces the business case approach which forms the basis for activity and programme development for investment from the National land Transport Fund (NLTF).


The business case approach supports planning and investing for outcomes, ensuring early collaboration between stakeholders and progressive development of a robust, evidence based investment case.


The business case approach

The business case approach is a structured process that integrates best practice decision-making, programme management and investment assurance tools.


It progressively builds an investment case by:

  • identifying the core problem
  • identifying the consequences of not addressing it
  • identifying the benefits to be gained by investing in its solution. 


The approach breaks the activity development process into phases that have decision gateways. This ensures NLTF funding is not wasted by developing low priority activities that poorly achieve, or have diverged from targeted outcomes.



Implementing a business case approach

The NZTA is implementing a business case approach because we expect it to:


Generate clear understanding of problems, consequences and benefits at the outset

  • Improve the strategic and outcomes alignment
  • Increase responsiveness to changes in expected outcomes.
  • Build the case for investment progressively
  • Involve all stakeholders along the way
  • Enable consideration of a wide range of alternatives and options to address a problem


As a result, this should lead to:

  • Better and earlier decisions for funding from the NLTF
  • Investments targeted to priorities
  • Improved confidence of investment, with more efficient use of resources
  • Better value for money
  • Achievement of desired outcomes.


A scalable approach

The business case process is scalable so that the level of effort and deliverables required to develop the investment case is appropriate to the size and risk of the problem and the proposed investment.



The business case approach allows a flexible approach to activity development and consideration of a wide range of alternatives, including the potential transfer of solutions to a non-transport stakeholder.


For example, a business case developed to address a transport problem may identify improvements to bylaws, land use policy or contributing factors, such as radio reception, provides the most effective solution. The business case may then be used to support these changes, even though they are not eligible for funding from the NLTF.


Equally, a non-transport business case may identify that the best solution involves transport improvements. In this instance, the transport investment may be justified through transfer of the existing business case.


Overview of the business case approach

Select the diagram below to view a high level overview of the business case approach:



Using the business case approach

The business case approach of problem and benefit identification, stakeholder engagement and option consideration is mandatory, however business problem owners seeking funding from the NLTF do not have to follow the exact process set out in the Knowledge Base.


An alternative process may be employed provided the requirements of the Business Case approach are met at each investment gate. These requirements can be achieved by understanding the business case process, guidance and templates provided within the Knowledge Base, and by considering the 16 question checklist[LINK – page to be provided].


Investment performance measurement in the business case approach

Throughout all stages of developing a business case, the NZTA and Approved Organisations need to consider how the performance of investments will be measured. Early in the business case approach, the performance indicators and benefit measures will need to be developed.


When the activity or programme has been implemented, its performance will be tracked against those indicators and measures. This will ensure an ongoing evaluation of the success of investments. From the lessons learned through performance monitoring, a better understanding can be gained of how improve future investment proposals and decisions.


Information on how the NZTA (Planning & investment) monitors investment performance [LINK = ] should assist Approved Organisations and the NZTA to identify and develop appropriate monitoring measures in the development phase.


Further information

The background to the Better Business Case framework being implemented by the NZTA can be found on the Treasury website [LINK: ].





From July 2013, the NZTA will be transitioning to the Business Case Approach for all transport planning investment. As there are a number of different transport planning projects at various stages of development, the NZTA will continue to support the existing process, and information is available on the Studies, Strategies, Packages and Plans process.