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This page relates to the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme.


This section describes the transitional rail activity class and provides links to information on requirements for transitional rail improvements, work category definitions and guidance, and assessment of transitional rail improvements. 

This new activity class has been introduced to enable ‘below track’ infrastructure improvements while the rail review takes place.


Government expectations

The government has set out its expectations of the land transport system in the  2018 Government Policy Statement on Land Transport  (external link)(external link)(GPS).

These include results from investments in transitional rail from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF).

  • Short- to medium-term results

    For transitional rail, the government expects:

    • Improvements to rail infrastructure that support increases in urban and inter-regional rail services for passengers accessing housing, major employment areas and major metropolitan areas where demand is outstripping capacity, to improve reliability or to reduce conflict between freight and passenger trains.
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  • Long-term results

    For transitional rail, the government expects:

    • increased mode shift from private vehicle trips to public transport in our towns and cities
    • improved network resilience for the most critical connections
    • reduction of transport’s negative effects on the global climate
    • reduction of transport's negative effects on the local environment and public health
    • better informed investment decision making
    • improved returns (including for maintenance and better use of innovation and technology).
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Qualifying for NLTP consideration

To qualify for inclusion in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) and subsequent funding approval:

  • Any proposed activity must be eligible by meeting the definition of the transitional rail activity class in the GPS and the appropriate work category definition in this knowledge base.
  • Contracted bus, rail and ferry services, including supporting operations and infrastructure, as well as Total Mobility services, provided within a regional network must be included in the relevant regional public transport plan (RPTP)
  • All regionally delivered public transport activities proposed for inclusion in the NLTP must be included in a regional land transport plan (RLTP), and
  • Organisations must comply with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Procurement manual and procurement rules, as well as any relevant standards and guidelines as listed in the Waka Kotahi Register of network standards and guidelines.

Transitional rail activities described in the following work categories are eligible for inclusion.


Development of transitional rail activities

Transitional rail activities proposed for inclusion in the NLTP must be in an RLTP. The activities should be limited to the infrastructure required to deliver the RPTP.

Transitional rail improvements comprise ‘below track’ activities on the rail network that improve the passenger rail service reliability and capacity, enabling better access to housing and employment.

Developing transitional rail activities requires the same detail as for public transport improvements.


Assessment of transitional rail activities

Transitional rail activities proposed for funding from the NLTF are assessed under Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's Investment Assessment Framework (IAF).  The IAF has the following requirements:

  • A business case must first be assessed by Waka Kotahi to provide assurance that a robust business case has been developed under the business case approach principles.
  • Waka Kotahi expects transitional rail activities to be firmly linked to long-term planning documents, particularly regional public transport plans and RLTPs .
  • For the 2018–21 NLTP, the results alignment rating will be used by Waka Kotahi to assess the significance of a problem, issue or opportunity relative to the desired results set out in the GPS.
  • A cost–benefit appraisal requires a benefit–cost ratio to be calculated using the Monetised benefits and costs manual (from August 2020) or the Economic evaluation manual (superseded August 2020) procedures and templates.

For more details refer to Assessment of public transport improvements, rapid transit and transitional rail improvements.