Frequently asked questions about the Land Transport Benefits Framework

This page answers some key questions about the Land Transport Benefits Framework and benefits management in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), and links to more detailed information.

  • What is the Land Transport Benefits Framework?

    The benefits framework is a consistent set of benefits and measures that makes it possible to consider, measure and report on all impacts of our investment in land transport.

    The benefits framework is made up of benefits, 12 of which can be monetised. Beneath the benefits are associated measures, which are either quantitative or qualitative. The benefits sit beneath five transport outcomes and are grouped into 12 clusters.

    We developed the framework so we and our investment partners have a consistent way of measuring benefits across all projects and across time. This means we can make sure we’re investing in the things that matter to the government and New Zealanders, and that our investments are delivering the expected outcomes. It also means we can all learn from what we’ve done.

    Land Transport Benefits Framework

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  • Is it mandatory to use the benefits framework?

    When applying for funding through the NLTP, all approved organisations (AOs) and Waka Kotahi must use benefits and measures from the benefits framework. This includes in all the documents and processes relating to funding and investment, including planning documents such as regional land transport programmes (RLTPs) and activity management plans (AMPs), and all stages of business case development.

    However, the level of detail required is different at different stages of planning or business case development – the level of detail and specificity required will be greater in the later, more detailed stages of a business case. Not all steps are required at all stages.

    Using the benefits framework in planning and business cases

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  • What’s the difference between a benefit measure and a monetised benefit?

    Monetisation is not the same as measurement in the benefits framework and, although related, they serve different purposes.

    Put simply, a benefit in the framework is a change or impact resulting from an investment, which could be either an advantage (positive/benefit) or disadvantage (negative/disbenefit). That same impact may be able to be:

    • described in words (a qualitative measure)
    • quantified in numbers (a quantified measure)
    • translated into money/economic terms (monetised benefit).

    The benefit measures help in forecasting and monitoring the actual, short-term on-the-ground impacts. The unit of measurement reflects the actual impact, for example the number of injuries in numerals, or the time taken to walk to the supermarket in minutes. The time frames of measurement are set by when the impact will first be felt (up to a decade), rather than accrued over a long period. The benefit measures assist to decide the best options for investment based on longer-term impacts and can be monitored in the short to medium term to understand if expected benefits are being realised.

    Monetisation relates to ascribing a monetary value to impacts that have been forecast using measures in the benefits framework. Forecast impacts are monetised by translating the impacts into a common unit (dollar value) so as to be readily comparable. Monetised benefits and costs are used to calculate economic indicators, such as a benefit–cost ratio (BCR) or net present value (NPV). The methods to ascribe dollar values to impacts and calculate economic indicators are outlined in the Monetised benefits and costs manual. The Investment Prioritisation Method (IPM) uses these indicators in the assessment and prioritisation of investment proposals, alongside other benefit measures and proposal attributes.

    Only 12 of the benefits in the framework have approved monetisation methodologies. If you select a benefit that will be monetised, you are required to also select a quantitative or qualitative measure for the benefit, if available. For example, if you select 1.1 Impact on social cost of death and serious injuries as a benefit and you decide to monetise it, you will also be required to select an appropriate safety measure, such as 1.1.3 Deaths and serious injuries. This will allow for ongoing benefits management and benefits realisation monitoring and reporting against the benefit.

    Monetised benefits and costs manual
    Land Transport Benefits Framework measures manual

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  • Does the benefits framework ever change?

    The benefits framework is designed to be enduring and consistent over time, so it will not fundamentally change. However, where there is a proven need for new benefits or measures, we are able to add them into the existing structure. To avoid corrupting the data, we will never reuse an existing benefit or measure number, even in the unlikely event of it being retired from the framework.

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  • What were the changes made to the benefits framework in 2023?

    In June 2023 we made some updates to the benefits framework and published version 2 of the Land Transport Benefits Framework measures manual. We also changed the name of the manual (from Non-monetised benefits manual) to better reflect the content and purpose of the manual.

    The key changes were:

    • for benefit 4.1 Impact on system vulnerabilities and redundancies, the description of measure 4.1.2 Level of service and risk has been changed from ‘user to describe’ to ‘Resilience risk category (calculated using National Resilience Programme Business Case methodology)’
      4.1 Impact on system vulnerabilities and redundancies
    • for benefit 8.1 Impact on greenhouse gas emissions:
      • altering the name of measure 8.1.1 to ‘Greenhouse gas emissions (all vehicles)’ (from ‘C02 emissions’)
      • adding two new quantitative measures:
    • for benefit 9.1 Impact on resource efficiency:
      • changing measure 9.1.2 Embodied carbon from a qualitative measure into a quantitative measure
      • altering the name of measure 9.1.3 to ‘Energy use’ (from ‘Energy’).
        9.1 Impact on resource efficiency

    These changes are primarily to incorporate the requirements of the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

    Land Transport Benefits Framework
    Land Transport Benefits Framework measures manual

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  • How does the benefits framework relate to the Investment Prioritisation Method?

    The Investment Prioritisation Method (IPM) is how we ensure the investments in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) align with the government’s priorities as set out in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS). The IPM is updated for every new NLTP, as the GPS is updated every three years.

    The Investment Prioritisation Method for the 2021–24 NLTP has three factors:

    • GPS alignment
    • scheduling
    • efficiency.

    Benefits are an important input to the IPM, with monetised benefits being used to assess efficiency, and other benefits being part of assessing GPS alignment. The IPM for the 2024–27 NLTP is currently under development and will remain in draft until the GPS 2024 is finalised.

    Because the benefits framework is designed to be enduring and consistent over a long period of time, it is not based on the priorities of the day, and contains no assumptions on the weight given to individual benefits in the assessment or prioritisation of investment in activities or programmes. It should, however, be able to provide relevant information to allow assessment under any combination of priority settings that apply at the time.

    Benefits in optioneering and prioritisation
    Investment Prioritisation Method

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  • How do benefits relate to the Business Case Approach?

    The Business Case Approach (BCA) is the method Waka Kotahi and its investment partners use to develop business cases for transport investments. A key principle of the BCA is ‘Investing for benefits’, and this should drive thinking through all phases of the BCA.

    Through the BCA you will identify, assess and evaluate benefits and measures. Having a consistent framework will make it easier for you to identify benefits and measures, and the centralised measures data, where available, will help in your planning and evidence base.

    Benefits will need to be revisited and refined through the business case stages. It is expected that, as the business case is developed, there will be greater clarity about the impact of the investment and the associated benefits measures, resulting in a potentially larger set of more diverse benefits at the end.

    Incorporating benefits into improvement business cases
    Business Case Approach guidance

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