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This page provides high-level, step-by-step guidance on how to select benefits and measures when developing planning documents or business cases.

The basic process for selecting benefits is similar no matter what planning or business case stage you are at, although 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.

Requirements for National Land Transport Programme inclusion

For inclusion in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) the primary benefit with one measure is required, but no baselines, forecasts or monitoring periods are required at this stage. All benefit and measure details are required for funding.

This step-by-step guide should be be read in association with specific guidance on what's required for different stages and documents:

Where to record benefits and measures

The benefits and measures need to be recorded in your planning or business case document and, for all stages apart from the strategic case phase, they need to be recorded in Transport Investment Online (TIO).

There are different requirements for different stages, which are explained in this guidance and in TIO user guides.

Go to TIO(external link)

1. Select transport outcome

Select the most relevant of the five transport outcomes. They are the highest level of the benefits framework, and come from the Ministry of Transport’s Transport Outcomes Framework.

View the benefits framework

Find out more about the Transport Outcomes Framework on the Ministry of Transport website(external link)

2. Select benefit cluster

You should select a benefit cluster that sits below the transport outcome you selected. The benefit clusters group the benefits into 12 categories.

View the benefits framework

3. Select appropriate benefit(s)

Decide on the benefit or benefits from the benefits framework that most accurately reflect the benefit your investment would bring to New Zealanders. Read the descriptions of the benefits to help you decide.

View the benefits framework

Benefits selected in earlier stages are likely to be more general, whereas they should become more specific in later stages. Benefits can be a primary benefit or co-benefit. Keep in mind the principles for selecting benefits and measures. 

See Principles for selecting benefits and measures for more tips on selecting benefits

What is the primary benefit?

A primary benefit is the main direct benefit of an investment. Co-benefits are secondary smaller benefits from that investment. A primary benefit will articulate the main impact the investment will have, but it may not necessarily be the main purpose of the investment. For example, a council proposed installing traffic lights at an intersection to make it safer. It might have been expected that the primary benefit would be 1.1 Impact on social cost of deaths and serious injuries. However, analysis showed that the biggest impact was on travel time, and so the primary benefit was actually 5.1 Impact on system reliability, with safety being a co-benefit.

1.1 Impact on social cost of deaths and serious injuries

5.1 Impact on system reliability

Alternative benefits

If there is no benefit in the framework that adequately covers the benefit you want to describe for your investment, you can use a different benefit, however:

  • it must be materially different to the benefits in the framework, and not just a different way of saying the same thing – for example, 'Impact on cycling' cannot by identified as an alternative benefit as it is already covered in 10.2 Impact on mode choice 
  • you must consult with your Waka Kotahi advisor before you finalise it.

Monetised benefits

If you select a benefit that can be monetised, you should still also select at least one quantitative or qualitative measure, if available. This is because measures will be used to monitor benefits realisation in the medium to long term.

Note that monetisation is only calculated as part of the business case.

For more about monetised benefits and costs and how to calculate them, read the Monetised costs and benefits manual

4. Select appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative measures

When selecting measures, read the descriptions of the measures in Non-monetised benefits manual: qualitative and quantitative measures.

Non-monetised benefits manual: qualitative and quantitative measures

While the measures are primarily associated with one benefit, some measures can be used to provide evidence of other benefits as well. For example, 10.2.1 People – mode share, associated with 10.2 Impact on mode choice, might also be used as evidence of other benefits, such as 8.1 Impact on greenhouse gas emissions or 3.1 Impact of mode on physical and mental health.

10.2 Impact on mode choice

8.1 Impact on greenhouse gas emissions

3.1 Impact of mode on physical and mental health

Alternative measures

If there is no appropriate benefit measure in the framework, you can use a different measure, however:

  • it must be materially different to the measures anywhere in the framework
  • you must consult with your Waka Kotahi advisor before you finalise it.

For some investments it may be appropriate to choose a measure from the One Network Road Classification (ONRC) (for the 2021–24 NLTP) or from the One Network Framework (from the 2024–27 NLTP onwards).

Find out more about One Network Road Classification

Find out more about the One Network Framework

5. Select measure baselines, forecasts and monitoring periods

When you select a measure, you are usually required to also select:

  • A baseline – what is happening now. This is the reported result of the measure at the start of the investment. Ensure the baseline reflects the area of influence relevant to the measure and the investment. For quantitative measures, ensure that you're using the correct unit of measurement. For qualitative measures, include a brief description, including the current condition of any relevant features being measured. For example: ‘The features in the study area are significant to local and regional heritage values and include amenity, spiritual-cultural, commemorative and historic education. The features are used for recreation and tourism.’
  • A forecast for the impact of the do-minimum – what you expect without the proposed investment. Forecasts are expected to indicate the potential impact of an investment, rather than predict an exact impact, but it is important that the do-minimum forecast is realistic. For quantitative measures this will be a range. For qualitative measures this will be a brief description, for example: ‘Without the investment, there is a neutral impact on key features.’
  • A forecast for the impact of the preferred option – what you expect if the proposed investment is done. This is for the same period as the do-minimum forecast. For quantitative measures this will be a range. It should reflect the error margin of the forecast. Where available, the statistical the statistical confidence interval can be used to determine the range, reflecting the actual number of a +/- to one standard deviation. The percentage difference in the range developed using this approach will provide a statistical basis for the forecast confidence rating field. For qualitative measures this will be a brief description, for example: ‘With investment, there is a significant positive impact on key features.’ When developing a business case, forecasts will be developed for all options, but but only the forecast for the preferred option is recorded in the summary table at the end of the business case and entered into TIO.
  • A forecast year – what year you expect the proposed investment will first significantly impact the result of this measure. This is the same year you use for the do-minimum and preferred option forecasts, and will be used to guide ongoing benefits realisation monitoring. Note that the forecasts required for the quantitative and qualitative benefits measures are not ‘accrued’ forecasts over the entire lifecycle of the asset, like those in the monetised approach. It is expected that the forecast year will be in the short-to-medium term, rather than long term (ie within 10 years of the start of the investment).
  • The period for monitoring – the length of time the measure is to be annually monitored after the forecast year. This will be one, three, five or 10 years. This is the length of time the measure will continue to be impacted as a result of the investment and for the full forecast to be reached. The types of investments likely to require one year of monitoring are ones where the impact is felt immediately and the impact will remain consistent over the long term; for example, some engineering safety interventions. For investments where the impact is likely to continue to be felt for a few years after the forecast year, a medium term of three to five years may be appropriate; for example, patronage growth for a public transport service. For investments where the impact is likely to continue to be felt over a longer duration, a term of 10 years would be appropriate; for example, behavioural changes such as mode shift in response to new infrastructure.
  • A forecast confidence rating – how confident you are of whether the forecasts are accurate and likely to be realised. These ratings should be high, medium or low.

Identifying the forecast confidence rating

Where a statistical confidence interval has been used to determine the forecast range, it can be used to identify the forecast confidence rating. If the forecast range of +/- one standard deviation is within the mean of:

  • +/- 20%: impact on baseline, the forecast confidence rating can be considered high
  • +/- 35%: impact on baseline, the forecast confidence rating can be considered medium
  • > +/- 35%: impact on baseline, the forecast confidence rating can be considered low.

If another method has been used to determine the forecast range, the level of certainty in the methodology used and the inclusion of assumptions can be used to determine the forecast confidence rating:

  • high: very certain, 75–100% certainty
  • medium: likely, 50–75% certainty
  • low: unlikely, 0–50% certainty.

See Principles for selecting benefits and measures for more tips on selecting measures

We are developing tools and gathering centralised data to help with baselines and forecasting. Where a centralised methodology is available, you should follow it to ensure consistency. If there isn't, work with your Waka Kotahi advisor to follow an appropriate alternative.

Find out more about centralised benefits data

Read further guidance about measures in the Non-monetised benefits manual: qualitative and quantitative measures

Further information