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Introduction

This section provides guidance for assessing continuous programmes of services within the public transport activity class.

A continuous programme is a group of activities, relating to existing assets and services, delivered on an ongoing basis from one National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) to the next to maintain an adequate customer level of service.

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

 

Prior requirements for assessment

Before an investment proposal is assessed against the Investment Assessment Framework (IAF), a business case must be developed, which the Transport Agency will assess 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

The Transport Agency requires public transport continuous  programmes to have applied the principles of the BCA and to be firmly linked, in particular,  to the following long-term planning documents:

 

  • Information required

    Information contained within these documents should describe the assumptions and forecasts underpinning the programme.

    The programme submitted into Transport Investment Online(external link) TIO, including the programme's on-going operational costs and any major improvement investments proposed should align with the intent of the funding plan captured in the RPTP. Approved organisations must demonstrate how the proposed activities optimise their public transport network(s).

    Information provided to support the submission of a public transport continuous programme should make reference to the relevant parts of these planning documents (see above). 

     

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Results alignment

For public transport continuous programmes, results alignment can be low, medium or high (see below).

For further information on results alignment assessmen, see the guidance in Developing an assessment profile.

 

  • Use of results alignment rating

    The Transport Agency uses the results alignment rating in the current NLTP to assess the significance of a problem, issue or opportunity relative to desired results set out in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport.(external link)

    The rating assessment is not an indication of how well a programme is being optimised and delivered by an organisation. A medium rather than a high results alignment rating should not be viewed as having ‘negative’ management connotations regarding network performance. A medium results alignment rating provides an indication a network is being managed to largely meet appropriate customer levels of service.

     

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  • Requirements for a low rating

    A public transport continuous programme may be given a low results alignment rating if the programme comprises activities that address as many of the following criteria as possible:

    Strategic priority Criteria for a low rating
    Access – thriving regions; liveable cities
    • Maintains a customer level of service above the required level
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  • Requirements for a medium rating

    A public transport continuous programme may be given a medium results alignment rating if the programme comprises activities that address as many of the following criteria as possible:

    Strategic priority Criteria for a medium rating
    Safety
    • Maintains levels of safety and security
    Access – thriving regions; liveable cities
    • Provides an appropriate customer level of service for access to social and economic opportunities
    Environment
    • Enables reductions in environmental and public health harms, particularly arising from transport-related air pollution and noise.
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  • Requirements for a high rating

    A public transport continuous programme may be given a high results alignment rating if the programme comprises activities that address as many of the following criteria as possible:

    Strategic priority Criteria for a high rating
    Safety
    • Addresses a gap in levels of safety and security that can be addressed through moderate increase in investment
    Access – thriving regions; liveable cities
    • Addresses a gap in an appropriate customer level of service that can be addressed through moderate increase in investment
    Environment
    • Enables significant reductions in environmental and public health harms, particularly arising from land transport-related air pollution and noise
    • Enables long term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from land transport

     

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Cost–benefit appraisal

The Transport Agency requires that approved organisations and the Transport Agency use the Economic evaluation manual procedures and templates when undertaking the cost–benefit appraisal of public transport activities.

The public transport programme appraisal template [XLSM, 4.4 MB](external link) can be used to support the evaluation. Note that this Excel spreadsheet contains macros that must be enabled in order to use the template.

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

 

  • Methodologies

    The cost–benefit appraisal methodologies for existing public transport continuous programmes are cost-effectiveness, benchmarking and performance comparisons of:

    • benefit efficiency ratio
    • farebox recovery ratio
    • cost per service km
    • service utilisation. 

    The Transport Agency will assess these methodologies across the proposed programme for the next NLTP and will compare them with the cost effectiveness and performance of the existing programme in relation to the service levels provided. The assessment of public transport programmes also includes benchmarking and evaluation of the marginal contribution of programme expansions and incremental new services through benchmarking and key performance measures. 

     

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  • Service variations and new services

    Where costs are separable

    Any service variations and new services that result in a higher annualised cost across the programme, and which are not part of the public transport continuous programme, are assessed as improvements.

    In such circumstances they can be treated as small-scale service trials (if under $1,000,000 across the life of the trial), and be applied for as part of the low cost, low risk improvement programme. If the cost of the service provision exceeds this amount then the application should be treated as a stand-alone improvement, refer to Assessment of public transport improvements. The impact of such improvements on the programme as a whole should be assessed using the appraisal template [XLSM, 4.4 MB] to ensure the total programme is optimised. 

    Where costs are not separable

    Where service variations resulting in a higher annualised cost across the programme cannot be separated out (such as reconfigured services in a total network), then application can be made as part of the continuous programme submission. 

    A stand-alone business case including robust identification of the problem, option development, and a benefit–cost ratio assessment should be provided to support the application. Again the impact of such improvements on the programme as a whole should be assessed using the appraisal template to ensure the total programme is optimised against a do-minimum ‘base case’ approach. 

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  • Further considerations and requirements

    Programme ratings

    Public transport programmes are given a rating of low, medium, or high based on their relative cost effectiveness and benchmarking performance comparisons.

    • low – when cost effectiveness and benchmarking show below average-band efficiency
    • medium – when cost effectiveness and benchmarking show average-band efficiency
    • high – when cost effectiveness shows above average-band efficiency.

    Peer review

    The Transport Agency reserves the right to require a peer review of benefit and cost appraisal determinations and measures, including any non-monetised/additional benefits and adverse impacts, regardless of the scope, prior to an investment decision.

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