Home Community How Waka Kotahi produced an award-winning investment project thanks to extensive collaboration

How Waka Kotahi produced an award-winning investment project thanks to extensive collaboration


While it makes up only about 15 per cent of New Zealand’s full roading network, the state highway network carries 50 per cent of the country’s road traffic and 72 per cent of road freight. 

Therefore, best-practice management of this 24,000km, $52.2 billion asset is imperative for the functioning of the nation’s road network as a whole.

But with investment flatlining in recent years, and traffic volume and the cost of works increasing, the network has seen a decline in condition.

In response to this, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency commissioned Infrastructure Design Support (IDS) to determine how much investment was needed for the 2021-2024 funding block, in turn providing a vital resource for the development of 10-year and 30-year strategies.

The resulting work – the Waka Kotahi Strategic Maintenance Investment Justification Project – which ran from May 2019 to March 2021, has been awarded both the IPWEA Excellence in Asset Management Award and the       

IPWEA Australasia Public Works Medal for Project of the Year.

The benefits of collaboration

Under the IDS banner, representatives from 14 organisations and 23 Network Outcome Contract (NOC) suppliers collaborated to deliver an end-to-end solution.

The project presented not only a strategic business and investment justification case but also plans for implementation, which will “set the scene across the entire network for a wave of highway renewals over the next five years that will have a ground-breaking impact both economically and socially for future generations”.

To achieve this, IDS employed a scientific research model, forecasting road condition, maintenance and renewal needs into the future.

Benefiting from the dynamic energy and innovative ideas of competitors working together, the project was able to consider maintenance and renewals not just in terms of conditions and lifecycle, but also in terms of customer comfort and safety.

Available to the whole industry, the results of the world-leading technical modelling framework will influence funding for generations by providing ongoing stores of data and evidence for decision-makers.

Future investments based on hard evidence

The project will provide a number of benefits to the community, including outputs from safety modelling analysis which will clearly show predicted road conditions and fatalities versus different spending levels.

This will help Waka Kotahi justify future investment decisions and will provide valuable information that shows the consequences of adopting varying investment levels.

The kind of analysis now possible as a result of the Waka Kotahi Strategic Maintenance Investment Justification Project has historically been missing, giving no evidence of the impacts on road-user safety due to lower or higher levels of long-term investment.

And by making it available nationwide, and to the whole industry, decision-makers can operate with assurance and confidence that a nationally consistent focus is being placed on investment to ensure the appropriate amounts of money are being spent in the correct locations.

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