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July Transportation Services Index (TSI): Combined Index and Passenger Index at New Highs

July Transportation Services Index (TSI): Combined Index and Passenger Index at New Highs

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BTS 27-04
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, October 6, 2004 - The Transportation Services Index (TSI) reached the highest level in the 14-year period covered by the index with a 0.4 percent rise in July, and the Passenger TSI rose 0.8 percent to reach an all-time high, exceeding the pre-September 2001 high by the largest margin so far, the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today.

The TSI, which combines freight and passenger indexes, rose in July to 125.5 (1996=100) for the first rise after two consecutive monthly declines. The July 2004 TSI is 7.2 percent higher than July 2003. The June TSI is 125.0, revised from the 123.9 reported in BTS' September release. The July TSI of 125.5 is the all-time high, topping the previous high of 125.4 for April 2004.

TSI is a single seasonally adjusted index of the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline, and local transit.

The index includes historic data from 1990 to the present, allowing for examination of trends, peaks and low-points. Changes are measured against the base year of 1996. The TSI is still under development and is considered experimental. The next release is scheduled for Nov. 8.

The Transportation Services Index for Freight

The TSI for freight increased 0.3 percent to 126.9 in July from the June level of 126.6, following two consecutive monthly declines beginning in April. The April Freight TSI of 127.1 is the all-time high, revised from the 126.6 reported in BTS' September release. The June TSI for freight is 126.6, revised from the 125.7 reported in September. The July 2004 level of 126.9 is 6.9 percent higher than the July 2003 level of 118.7.

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers was up 0.8 percent to 122.7 in July, surpassing the previous high of 121.8 in April and the pre-September 2001 high of 121.7 that was set in August 2001. The April Passenger TSI was revised to 121.8 from the 120.0 reported in September, resulting in the first monthly index level that topped the pre-9/11 high. The July level of 122.7 is 7.8 percent higher than the July 2003 level of 113.9. The June TSI for passengers is 121.7, revised from the 120.0 reported in BTS' September release.

More on TSI

During the six months ending in July, the TSI rose 3.9 percent. The Freight TSI rose 3.9 percent and the Passenger TSI rose 4.0 percent during the six-month period.

Note: TSI numbers (Total, Freight, and Passenger) were revised because additional data became available for seasonality adjustments and because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. These changes have a larger impact on more recent numbers. The July TSI was particularly affected by the incorporation of revised source data for Public Transit dating back to 1993 and for Air Freight dating back to December 2003.

Table 1: Percent changes in the Transportation Services Index by Month Since January 2004 (Seasonally Adjusted):

Excel | CSV

  TSI Freight Passenger
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
January 120.8 -0.3 122.1 -0.6 118.0 0.3
February 122.8 1.7 123.9 1.4 120.8 2.4
March 123.7 0.7 125.2 1.0 120.6 -0.2
April 125.4 1.4 127.1 1.5 121.8 1.0
May 125.1 -0.2 126.7 -0.3 121.6 -0.1
June 125.0 -0.1 126.6 -0.1 121.7 0.1
July 125.5 0.4 126.9 0.3 122.7 0.8

Table 2: Percent changes in the Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year July TSI (1996 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from previous year
1996 100.8 2.6
1997 107.1 6.3
1998 112.6 5.1
1999 115.9 3.0
2000 114.7 -1.1
2001 114.6 -0.1
2002 115.7 1.0
2003 117.1 1.2
2004 125.5 7.2

Table 3: Percent Changes in the Transportation Services Index from Previous Years to 2004 July to July

Excel | CSV

Percent change to July 2004 Since July . . . Duration
7.2 2003 One Year
8.5 2002 Two Years
9.5 2001 Three Years
9.5 2000 Four Years
8.3 1999 Five Years
11.5 1998 Six Years
17.2 1997 Seven Years
24.6 1996 Eight Years

Table 4: Percent changes in the Freight Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year July Freight TSI (1996 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from previous year
1996 101.0 1.1
1997 108.4 7.3
1998 115.7 6.7
1999 117.1 1.2
2000 113.2 -3.3
2001 112.5 -0.6
2002 117.8 4.7
2003 118.7 0.8
2004 126.9 6.9

Table 5: Percent changes in the Passenger Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year July Passenger TSI (1996 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from previous year
1996 100.1 6.3
1997 104.3 4.2
1998 106.1 1.7
1999 113.5 7.0
2000 118.7 4.5
2001 120.1 1.2
2002 111.3 -7.3
2003 113.9 2.3
2004 122.7 7.8

Brief Explanation of the TSI

The Transportation Services Index (TSI) is a measure of the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries.

The TSI tells us how the output of transportation services has increased or decreased from month to month. The index can be examined together with other economic indicators to produce a better understanding of the current and future course of the economy. The movement of the index over time can be compared with other economic measures to understand the relationship of changes in transportation output to changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The TSI is still under development and is therefore considered experimental. It is being examined for refinements in data sources, methodologies and interpretations.

The freight transportation index consists of:

For hire trucking,
Railroad freight services (including rail based intermodal shipments such as containers on flat cars),
Inland waterways transportation,
Pipeline transportation (including principally petroleum and petroleum products and natural gas), and
Air freight.

The index does not include international or coastal waterborne movements, private trucking, courier services, or the US Postal Service.

The passenger transportation index consists of:

Local transit,
Intercity passenger rail, and
Passenger air transportation.

The index does not include intercity bus, sight seeing services, ferry services, taxi service, private automobile usage, or bicycling and other non-motorized transportation.