This page relates to the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme.


This page provides an overview of specific requirements for the funding of improvement activities that are already included and prioritised in the 2021–24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).

Relevant legislative requirements for the approval of activities are outlined in section 20 of the Land Transport Management Act 2003.

Land Transport Management Act 2003(external link)

For the requirements for continuous programmes, see:

Public transport continuous programmes

Requirements of a road maintenance programme

Definition of terms

Improvement: An activity that increase levels of service to address an identified gap in levels of service or improve the effectiveness or efficiency of the land transport system. These activities include, but are not limited, to state highway improvements, local road improvements, regional improvements, resilience improvements, walking and cycling improvements, and public transport improvements.

Business case endorsement

All organisations applying for funding from the NLTF must use the principles of the Business Case Approach (BCA) when developing proposals for an improvement activity. A business case must be endorsed to support an investment decision. The requirements for a business case depend on the business case phase and the type of activity.

Business case policy

Business Case Approach guidance

Specific requirements

Appraisal summary table

We require approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) to compile an appraisal summary table (AST) for short-listed options for improvement activities over $2 million to summarise the impacts of an option (both positive and negative) compared with the do-minimum (counterfactual) option. The AST summarises the monetised, quantitative and qualitative benefits and costs at the stage of selecting a preferred solution from a shortlist.

If there are three shortlisted options, an AST should be prepared for each of the options to enable informed trade-off decisions to be made.

The AST is used to inform the selection of a preferred option in the investment decision-making process.

Appraisal summary table

We require approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) to provide robust cost estimates for their activities prepared by people with appropriate skills and experience. The cost estimation process for a Waka Kotahi activity must follow the principles set out in the Waka Kotahi Cost estimation manual (SM014). Cost estimates are for the whole of life cost of an activity. For the purposes of the calculation of a benefit cost ratio and for determining the amount to be approved for funding, administration costs are included in cost estimates.

The cost estimates are required to be uploaded to the TIO funding application as supporting information.

For all improvement projects with estimated construction or service establishment costs over $20 million, we require the parallel cost estimation process. The Cost Estimation Manual (SM014) sets out an appropriate method. See below for further guidance on risk management and cost estimation.

A summary of the cost estimation process and any parallel cost estimate, reconciliation or cost risk analysis are to be attached to the TIO funding application as supporting information. 

Cost estimation manual (SM014)

Where risk analysis is required to provide 5th and 95th percentile cost estimates, the results are expected to reflect the project phase and type of cost estimate, for example a feasibility estimate would be expected to have a much wider cost range than a construction/pre-implementation estimate. The Waka Kotahi Risk management practice guide (minimum standard Z/44) sets out further details, including project cost thresholds and required approach to risk analysis.

Minimum standard Z/44 - Risk management practice guide

Investment risk management policy

One Network Framework

All proposals must consider both the current and future asset classifications using the One Network Framework (ONF) to determine the most appropriate interventions. The ONF is our national classification system for roads and streets that provides a common language linking strategies and policies together to support holistic decision making. From the 202427 NLTP, all investment proposals will be required to demonstrate consideration of the ONF.

One Network Framework

Peer review of proposals

We require a peer review of improvement activity business cases with estimated whole-of-life costs over $15 million.

Approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) are encouraged to have a small activity (between $2m and $15m implementation cost) peer reviewed if the cost and/or benefit risks associated with these are considered high or the applicant lacks experience in the development and implementation of such projects. In any event, all small activities should be internally peer reviewed.

The reviewer must raise any concerns in writing with the applicant organisation for funding assistance (and its representative).

Peer review of proposals

Public engagement

All proposals must be supported by appropriate consultation and engagement in accordance with relevant public engagement guidelines. The engagement approach will be expected to be undertaken in a cohesive manner building on previous engagement to date of relevance to the investment proposal that seeks funding.

An approved community engagement or consultation plan will be required for all improvement activities over $2 million.

The approved organisation or Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) may need to undertake consultation under the Resource Management Act 1991 as part of the resource or development consent process for construction/development aspects involved in the delivery of the activity. To effectively manage risk, option development needs to consider these broader considerations and integrate optioneering with stakeholder engagement.

Waka Kotahi has developed guidance on the use of tools, including a multi-criteria analysis template that is aligned to our Z/19 Taumata Taiao – environmental and sustainability standard, to help manage risk and achieve desired outcomes from transport investment in a collaborative manner.

Optioneering tools

Z/19 Taumata Taiao – environmental and sustainability standard

Safe System audit

Safe System audits must be undertaken at key stages of a project’s development and implementation (see page 8 of the Safe System audit guidelines for transport projects for when to undertake a Safe System audit). The latest audit report and the project manager’s response to issues are to be attached to any Transport Investment Online (TIO) funding application.

Safe System audit guidelines for transport projects

Safe System audit

Monitoring and reporting

Accurate information must be entered into TIO to improve decision transparency, enable consistent scrutiny and reporting accuracy to avoid problems with future claims.

2021-24 NLTP monitoring, reporting and assurance

National Land Transport Fund investment claims and obligations policy


Investment proposals that are in the interests of public safety or are necessary to effect immediate or temporary repair of damage caused by a sudden and unexpected event are not subject to the requirements of section 20(2)&(3) of the Land Transport Management Act (section 20(4) LTMA). The requirements for emergency works are outlined in the relevant work category requirements.

Work category 141: Emergency works

We will consider requests to deviate from the above transport investment requirements. Exemptions will be considered on their merits and should be discussed with the appropriate Waka Kotahi representative, in the first instance your investment advisor.

We will work with applicants to resolve questions and address issues relevant to funding decisions working through the appropriate Waka Kotahi representative. For the negotiation and use of conditions, see:

Funding approvals, cost changes and transport programme updates