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


This section provides guidance on how to determine a rating for each of the three investment prioritisation factors. It also provides links to definitions used in the criteria for each factor, as well as links to frequently asked questions (FAQs). 

General principles for applying prioritisation factors

The rating criteria table for the GPS  alignment factor provides the criteria to determine the degree to which proposals align with the priorities and results sought in the GPS 2021. Similar tables have been developed for the scheduling and efficiency factors.

GPS alignment factor

Scheduling and efficiency factors

We (Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency as investor) invest to deliver key land transport outcomes and GPS priorities. We encourage activities, programmes and packages deliberately designed to deliver multiple outcomes, including contributing to wider government priorities and wellbeing where transport has a role to play. With this in mind, we designed and adopted the Business Case Approach to assist organisations develop their investment proposals, and our funding decisions take multiple outcomes into account.

Most activities, programmes or packages will contribute to more than one outcome, some of which may not be priorities in the current GPS.

Investment prioritisation is one part of the investment decision-making framework, sitting alongside business case development, assessment for investment, endorsement and the funding decisions themselves.

In order to keep the Investment Prioritisation Method reasonably simple to understand and apply, we assign ratings for the GPS alignment based on the highest expected contribution to a single GPS strategic priority. In some cases, where an activity or combination of activities may impact on more than one priority (namely: better travel options and climate change or improved freight connections and climate change), this is acknowledged in the rating criteria table .

For the GPS alignment and scheduling factors, select one relevant criterion related to each expected benefit from investment in the activity or combination of activities (eg programme or package). To determine the rating for the activity or combination of activities under consideration, the rating is assigned based on the highest expected contribution to a single GPS strategic priority. For example, if a proposed activity contributes to both improving freight connections and better travel options (improved mode choice), with a high for improving freight connections and a medium for better travel options, then a rating of high for improving freight connections may be selected.

Where an activity or combination of activities may impact on both interdependency and criticality criteria in the scheduling factor, select the highest-value rating as the scheduling factor rating.

The efficiency factor rating is assigned based on the benefit–cost ratio (BCR). The indicative efficiency rating (IER) tool should be used in the absence of a calculated BCR to determine the efficiency factor rating.

Indicative efficiency rating tool

Applying factors to activities that are part of programmes or packages

An activity that is part of a programme or package we have previously endorsed may be assigned the GPS alignment and efficiency rating of that programme or package. This may require a reassessment of the GPS alignment of the programme or package using the Investment Prioritisation Method for the 2021–24 NLTP. Where a programme or package being put forward for inclusion is new to the 2021–24 NLTP, then all phases of the programme/package and activities for the 2021–24 NLTP may be assigned the GPS alignment of the programme or package.

Assessment and investment decisions may be made at a programme rather than individual project level:

  • Packages of inter-related and inter-dependent activities submitted for funding consideration are able to include activities with BCR<1 provided the overall package demonstrates a BCR>1 and all the components of the package are completed.
  • Programmes of work may take the same approach as packages, when the components of the programme are seeking to deliver a common outcome, but they are not necessarily inter-related or inter-dependent.
  • The policy thus allows inclusion of activities that are highly effective in achieving GPS priorities but have a BCR<1 into a programme, provided the overall programme demonstrates delivery of BCR>1.

The scheduling factor must be assessed separately for each activity phase of a programme or package being considered for inclusion in the NLTP.

Business cases (eg detailed or single stage business cases for activities/combination of activities within the programme or package) that have been developed subsequent to the programme business case will require all three factors to be assessed.

Evidence requirements to support factor ratings are greater when moving from inclusion to funding approval.

When we consider a new activity or combination of activities for inclusion in the NLTP, we recognise that the potential impact of the activity may be based on estimates of the three factors, and this is considered acceptable.

When an activity or combination of activities is brought forward for endorsement and/or funding approval, we expect that such estimates will be substantiated with evidence and more robust modelling or forecasting techniques.

Definitions of criteria used for GPS alignment factor

Definitions for some of the terms used in the GPS alignment factor are found in Definitions.

Investment Prioritisation Method definitions and description of criteria

Centralised data may be available for GPS alignment factor

Where feasible, the criteria for the GPS alignment draw on the benefits and measures with centralised data available as part of the Waka Kotahi benefits framework – refer to Definitions for details. To estimate impacts on GPS priorities, proposers may draw information from the Waka Kotahi Non-monetised benefits manual.

Investment Prioritisation Method definitions and description of criteria

Non-monetised benefits manual

Investment logic maps (performance measures, targets) for related programmes and/or previous business cases can be consulted. Data in MegaMaps and StoryMaps (non-monetised benefits) will help to establish the baseline from which to make an estimate.

Non-monetised benefits manual

If you do not have access to view the information on MegaMaps or StoryMaps, please contact

Frequently asked questions

FAQs [PDF, 307 KB]

Further information

GPS alignment factor

Scheduling and efficiency factors