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Archive - this information is for reference only and no longer maintained.

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


This section describes the rapid transit activity class and provides links to information on rapid transit requirements, work category definitions and guidance, and assessment of rapid transit improvements.

The rapid transit activity class is defined in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport(external link) (GPS) (refer to page 52) as public transport capable of moving a large number of people with largely dedicated or exclusive right-of-way routes.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has defined rapid transit as also including the following attributes:

  • enabling and supporting transit oriented urban  development
  • covering planning, design and delivery of infrastructure required for a rapid transit system
  • designed to deliver a substantial increase in patronage.


Government expectations

The government has set out its expectations of the land transport system in the  2018 GPS (external link)(external link).

This includes results from investments in rapid transit from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF).

  • Short- to medium-term results

    For rapid transit, the government expects:

    • investment in public transport infrastructure that substantially increases the capacity to move large numbers of people (especially in the peak) in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
    • transport infrastructure effectively supporting urban growth and aligning with wider place-making initiatives.
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  • Long-term results

    For rapid transit, the government expects:

    • increased mode shift from private vehicle trips to public transport in our towns and cities
    • reduction of  transport's negative effects on the global climate
    • reduction of transport's negative effects on the local environment and public health
    • better informed investment decision making
    • improved returns (including for maintenance and better use of innovation and technology). 
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Qualifying for NLTP consideration

To qualify for inclusion in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) and subsequent funding approval:

  • Any proposed activity must be eligible by meeting the definition of the rapid transit activity class in the GPS and the appropriate work category definition in this knowledge base (PIKB).
  • All regionally delivered rapid transit activities proposed for inclusion in the NLTP must be included in a regional public transport plan (RPTP) and regional land transport plan (RLTP).
  • Organisations must comply with Waka Kotahi’s Procurement manual and procurement rules, as well as any relevant standards and guidelines as listed in Waka Kotahi’s Register of network standards and guidelines.

Rapid transit activities described in work category 540 are eligible for inclusion.


Development of rapid transit activities

Rapid transit activities proposed for inclusionin the NLTP must be in an RLTP. The activities should be limited to the infrastructure required to deliver the RPTP.

Rapid transit includes new infrastructure and improvements to existing infrastructure that enable a substantial increase in access to social and economic opportunities for large numbers of people along dedicated key corridors in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Developing rapid transit follows the same detail as for public transport improvements.


Assessment of rapid transit activities

Rapid transit activities proposed for funding from the NLTF are assessed under the Waka Kotahi Investment Assessment Framework (IAF). The IAF has the following requirements:

  • Waka Kotahi first assesses the proposal to ensure a robust business case has been developed under the business case approach principles.
  • Waka Kotahi expects that rapid transit activities are firmly linked to long-term planning documents, particularly RPTPs and RLTPs.
  • For the 2018–21 NLTP, the results alignment rating is used by Waka Kotahi to assess the significance of a problem, issue or opportunity relative to desired results set out in the GPS.
  • A cost–benefit appraisal requires a benefit–cost ratio to be calculated using the Monetised benefits and costs manual (from August 2020) and the Economic evaluation manual (superseded August 2020) procedures and templates.

For more details refer to Assessment of public transport improvements, rapid transit and transitional rail improvemen