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


This section provides guidance for assessing low cost, low risk improvement programmes within the local road improvements, state highway improvements, regional improvements or public transport Improvements activity classes for activities up to $1 million total cost per activity.

For general information about developing an assessment profile including relevant reference frameworks, see Developing an assessment profile.


Prior requirements for assessment

Before a proposal is assessed against the Investment Assessment Framework (IAF), a business case must be developed, which Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency assesses to ensure it:

  • is robust and has been developed using business case approach (BCA) principles
  • meets the requirements for being included in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) and is eligible for NLTP funding.

Work categories



Links to planning

Waka Kotahi expects low cost, low risk programmes to be firmly linked to activity management planning documents (eg activity management plans (AMPs), road safety action plans (RSAPs) and regional land transport plans (RLTPs)) as well as long term plans (LTPs).

Key principles

Key principles for low cost, low risk programmes include:

  • The activities in these programmes will be optimised by following a straightforward process to reflect the government’s priorities. Investment partners can apply their own assessment framework during their programme prioritisation, but there is a clear expectation they will assess an individual project’s alignment with the appropriate activity class results alignment criteria.
  • Walking and cycling activities that form part of an investment partner’s low cost, low risk programme will be cross-checked for alignment with activities in the walking and cycling activity class.
  • It is particularly important to have flexibility to adjust the programme over the three year NLTP period, particularly where parts of the programme are not well developed at the time the NLTP is adopted.
  • Projects within a low cost, low risk programme will not need to calculate a benefit-cost ratio They will need to identify the principal benefit the project is seeking to achieve.

Results alignment

Generic rating

The assessment is made at the programme level. The generic rating for results alignment for low cost, low risk programmes is high. Results alignment for each activity in the programme is captured in the relevant low cost, low risk template which can be downloaded from Transport Investment Online(external link) (TIO).

Waka Kotahi requires approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (state highways) to complete this and keep it current.

A strong linkage to activity management planning documents should provide insight into the quality and value of the proposed programmes.

Cost–benefit appraisal


The fundamental requirement of a fully completed low cost, low risk improvements programme are:

  • completing and uploading the template into TIO
  • keeping the template current.

A value for money scan of the proposed activities in the programmes will challenge, and remove from the programme any that are judged to be of low value based on supporting information such as that contained in the supplied template and any other information necessary to demonstrate value for money.

 Generic rating

Provided Waka Kotahi is satisfied the proposal targets a medium or high rating and the activities in the list represent reasonable value for money, a generic rating of medium will apply to low cost, low risk improvement programmes.

For further information on cost–benefit appraisal see Developing an assessment profile.


Programme prioritisation

Waka Kotahi will prioritise low cost, low risk programmes (based on the results alignment and cost–benefit appraisal ratings of the programme) against other improvement activities in the local road improvements, state highway improvements, regional improvements and public transport improvement activity classes.

If funding availability is an issue across or in any of the above mentioned activity classes, the scale of the low cost low risk programme may be adjusted based on its priority within the activity class. The allocation will also consider the quality of supporting business cases including activity management planning documents.

Activity prioritisation

Activities detailed on the low cost, low risk improvements template must be prioritised against each other as part of preparing and managing this information. The approved organisation and Waka Kotahi (state highways) determines which activities are included in the prioritisation framework and provides it to Waka Kotahi upon request.