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Investment decision-making framework review

Latest update

19 August 2019

The Investment Decision-Making Review has progressed from investigation to its next stage – the co-design of the revised framework. The Assessment workstream has held the first of a series of design workshops about assessment, including how it works with the business case approach and how it supports prioritisation of the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF).

The attendees at the workshop included people from the NZ Transport Agency and Ministry of Transport (MoT) – who are jointly leading this work – and representatives from local government, Auckland Transport, Treasury, KiwiRail, Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This wide range of people were chosen to make sure the workshop had a variety of perspectives at the table.

There was support from this group for aligning the new assessment framework with MoT’s Transport Outcomes Framework, which will align benefits to an enduring set of outcomes. They also wanted a system that uses a combination of monetised, quantitative, and qualitative approaches, one that considers sustainability (in particular climate change) and social considerations from the outset of the business case process.

As importantly, they wanted a framework that considers all modes (including rail), and housing and urban development from the outset.

Local government representatives in particular wanted a framework that better uses existing local government documents such as Regional Land Transport Plans (RLTP), Activity Management Plans (AMP) and Regional Public Transport Plans (RPTPs).

The design stage will continue until November this year.

Feedback from this workshop is being used to help guide an initial draft design, and will then go back out to partners and stakeholders for final consultation, testing and refinement. We want to ensure the sector and Transport Agency staff have the opportunity to help shape how investment decisions will be made. 

The IDMF programme completed its investigation stage at the end of June. During this stage workshops were held around the country, where the Transport Agency, Ministry of Transport and Local Government NZ hosted Council representatives and other stakeholders to review and recommend changes to the framework. The full report from the investigation stage will be available shortly and will be shared externally with our stakeholders and partners.

The final stage of the programme is implementation, which will occur early next year and be ready to go live by the end of June 2020.

To get in touch with the team, email


The New Zealand Transport Agency is reviewing how investments are developed, assessed and prioritised. We're looking at a fundamental change in how we make land transport investment decisions; putting people and place, rather than vehicles and networks, at the centre of our decision-making.

The Transport Agency uses its IDMF to develop, assess and prioritise funding transport investment proposals. The review of this framework has been prompted by changes in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2018 (GPS), which places more emphasis on social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes in transport planning.

This includes environmental impact, safety, resilience, access to transport, public health, urban development, and network benefits in transport planning and investment. GPS 2018 also required an investigation of the Transport Agency’s evaluation methods, and this has been incorporated as a core part of the review.

The review will take into account the principles outlined in GPS 2018; that all modes of transport, land use, technology, and innovation are considered and valued in transport investment. We also want to improve the business case approach to making the case for investment.

The Transport Agency and the Ministry of Transport are working together to revise the Investment Decision-Making Framework, with support from Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ). We’ll also be working with other local government and local authority representatives, as well as NZ Treasury, to get their input into the investigation, design and delivery stages of the review.

2018 Government Policy Statement on Land Transport(external link) (GPS)
Local Government New Zealand(external link) (LGNZ)

Key changes

The review will result in changes to investment decision-making principles and policies, processes, tools and systems to ensure:

  • A shift to a system-based approach to identify, assess and prioritise proposals for future transport investment.
  • All transport modes and alternatives (including walking, cycling, public transport and new transport options such as electric scooters and the use of technology) are considered when planning and investing in land transport.
  • The inclusion of social, economic, cultural, and environmental outcomes in transport planning and investment, and consideration of the wider impact of transport proposals on communities, the environment and surrounding transport infrastructure.
  • A revised system that is robust and easy to use.

We’ll be providing support and resources to help with embedding the new requirements.

The review will focus on five key workstreams:

  • Improved strategic alignment – providing a clear link between investment proposals and long- and short-term plans. We also want to understand how  the Transport Agency can better co-ordinate urban development and infrastructure changes to mitigate climate change challenges and contribute to public health improvements.
  • Building the case for investment – developing tools and process that allow flexible development of investment proposals, making sure the right level of effort is put into proposals, and providing clarity on building the case for investment.
  • Assessing a wider range of impacts of transport proposals – making sure our evaluation methods are consistent with whole-of-government, the GPS, and that they are informed by research and international best practice. This will mean a wider view of costs, impacts and benefits to be considered in investment decision-making. 
  • Prioritising investment proposals – improve and simplify the method of prioritising proposals, and looking at how to include social, environmental and economic benefits and impacts in that prioritisation.
  • Building sector capability and confidence – making sure the Transport Agency advice and use of the decision-making framework is consistent, looking at how to build staff and sector capability, and providing information, guidance, tools that are easy to find, understand, and use.


The IDMF review will largely take place throughout 2019 and will be implemented in June 2020, in time for the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) 2021–24 to be developed.

Implementation will include updated investment policies, processes, tools, and guidance (including updates to the business case approach, criteria for prioritisation and assessment, and evaluation methodologies).

National Land Transport Programme (NLTP)

Next steps

We are working with LGNZ about how best to engage with local government to seek their input and feedback.

We’ll update this page regularly throughout the process.

More information

For more information you can email our programme management team

View frequently asked questions