Transport Business Case

The Department is committed to being open and transparent. The following pages set out how the Department assesses the business case for major investments and supports ministers as they make decisions on them. This will enable those outside of the Department to understand and engage with what we do. It will also provide scheme promoters and their specialists with comprehensive guidance to make it easier and simpler to understand and engage with our decision making process.

A summary is set out in The Transport Business Case (PDF - 60 KB).

The business case

Ministers consider the evidence presented to them in a business case when making decisions on major investments. The business case is built up over time and contains all the relevant information regarding a proposed scheme investment set out in five cases, consistent with the Treasury Green Book, specifically to show whether a proposal:

Strategic case

The strategic case determines whether or not a project or proposal is needed, either now or in the future. It should demonstrate a robust case for change, i.e. a clear rationale for making the investment; and strategic fit, how an investment will further the aims and objectives of the organisation. The strategic case is particularly important when decisions are made on a project at an early stage, and should provide a shortlist of options at the strategic outline case stage.

Economic case

The economic case assesses options to identify all their impacts, and the resulting value for money, to fulfil the Treasury's requirements for appraisal and demonstrating value for money in the use of taxpayers' money.

Financial case

The financial case provides evidence on the affordability of the proposal, its funding and technical accounting issues. It includes the financial profile of the different options and the impact of the proposed deal on the Department's budgets and accounts.

Commercial case

The commercial viability of a project or proposal and the procurement strategy that will be used to engage the market is set out and appraised within the commercial case. This ensures that there is a clear understanding of the financial implications of any proposed deal, both in terms of the Department's contractual obligations and associated spend in support of the required services. It also looks for evidence on risk allocation and transfer, contract timescales and implementation timescale.

Management case

The management case ensures that the project is deliverable. It tests the project planning, governance structure, risk management, communications and stakeholder management, benefits realisation and assurance. It ensures that there is clarity in the proposal and a clear and agreed understanding of what needs to be done, why, when and how, with measures in place to identify and manage any risks.

Tools that support business cases

Tools are available to produce evidence that supports all five cases.

Transport Analysis Guidance (WebTAG)

WebTAG is the Department's website for guidance on the conduct of transport studies. Evidence that supports all five cases is produced using WebTAG and other tools available on these web pages.

Early Assessment and Sifting Tool (EAST)

EAST is a tool that has been developed to quickly summarise and present evidence on options in a clear and consistent format. It presents relevant, high level, information so that an early view can be taken on how options perform and compare. This tool is new and we welcome feedback on both the tool and the guidance. You can email us at

Equality Duty

The public sector Equality Duty came into force on 5th April 2011.

In complying with the Equality Duty, and with the aim of delivering better and more cost-effective policy outcomes, the Department must have due regard to equalities issues, consciously thinking about equality as a matter of course before making decisions, when developing policies and services, and in all departmental planning. This includes looking at evidence, engaging with staff, service users and others to understand the effect of our policies and practices on the whole community.

Transport schemes delivered by others

The Department works in partnership with other organisations to deliver transport schemes.

Help accessing downloadable file formats

Most publications are available in portable document format (PDF) or rich text format (RTF) for downloading and reading offline. PDF files may only be compatible with the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader .

People with visual difficulties may find it useful to learn about improving the accessibility of Acrobat documents at the Adobe Accessibility Resource Centre .

For information about RTF and zip files please visit help with downloads.

If you are unable to access a publication, please contact us to organise a suitable alternative format.

For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.