3.1 Building the business case:

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A Business Case is required to support investment decisions for policies, programmes and projects, to help make sure that the stated objectives of the investment can be met, that the anticipated benefits can be realised and that the associated risks have been taken into account.

The Department for Transport is committed to open and transparent decision-making and has developed a well-defined process for assessing the Business Case for investment using the Treasury’s Five Case Model. The approach determines whether policies, programmes and projects:

  • Are supported by a robust case for change that fits with wider public policy objectives – the ‘strategic case’.
  • Demonstrate value for money – the ‘economic case’.
  • Are commercially viable – the ‘commercial case’.
  • Are financially affordable – the ‘financial case’.
  • Are achievable – the ‘management case’.

All major transport investments must follow the Transport Business Case process – where each of the Five Cases are designed to decide whether the proposal should move to the implementation stage.

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Key takeaways

The DfT has well-defined processes to assess Transport Business Cases, supported by detailed methodologies to ensure consistent, evidence-based decision-making.

To meet new goals and targets, local decision-makers need to balance competing factors including: strategic objectives, economic benefits, financial affordability, asset scale and condition, and customer expectations taking account of internal resources and capabilities.

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3.2 Transport Business Case