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Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.2 Percent in March from February

Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.2 Percent in March from February

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BTS 25-05
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Monday, June 6, 2005 - The Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.2 percent in March to 129.9 (1996=100) from the February level of 128.4, the fourth increase in the past six months, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

BTS, a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the March level of 129.9 for the combined freight and passenger index was 5.0 percent higher than the March 2004 level of 123.7 (Table 2). The March 2005 level was 30.6 percent higher than the March level of the base year of 1996 (Table 3).

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. The TSI is still under development and is considered experimental. The index measures changes from the monthly average for the base year of 1996. The next release is scheduled for July 6.

Transportation Services Index for Freight

The TSI for freight rose 0.5 percent to 130.2 in March from the February level of 129.5, the fourth increase in the last six months (Table 1). The March 2005 level of 130.2 is 4.0 percent higher than the March 2004 level of 125.2 (Table 4).

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers rose 3.0 percent to 129.9 in March from the February level of 126.1 (Table 1), the largest single month increase since December 2001. The March 2005 level of 129.9 is 7.7 percent higher than the March 2004 level of 120.6 (Table 5).

More on TSI

During the six months ending in March, the TSI rose 3.1 percent, the Freight TSI rose 2.6 percent and the Passenger TSI rose 4.4 percent (Table 1).

Notes: TSI numbers for December 2004 (Total, Freight, and Passenger) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The December TSI is 127.9, revised from 127.3 reported in the May release. The December Freight TSI is 129.2, revised from 128.4. The December Passenger TSI is 125.2, revised from 125.3. The TSI for January, February and March are preliminary.

TSI revision policy: TSI is updated monthly with the latest three months' index numbers considered preliminary. Each month BTS releases the latest preliminary TSI, and replaces the oldest preliminary TSI with a revised TSI. All other revisions are held until an annual comprehensive revision of the TSI which will be released as part of the following July TSI release. More information about the revision policy is available at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Table 1: Percent changes in the Transportation Services Index by Month
Since September 2004 (Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 1996 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Freight Passenger
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
September 126.0 0.4 126.9 0.4 124.3 0.3
October 127.1 0.8 127.8 0.7 125.8 1.2
November 128.3 1.0 129.6 1.4 125.5 -0.2
DecemberR 127.9 -0.3 129.2 -0.4 125.2 -0.2
JanuaryP 129.7 1.4 130.9 1.3 127.4 1.7
FebruaryP 128.4 -1.0 129.5 -1.0 126.1 -1.0
MarchP 129.9 1.2 130.2 0.5 129.9 3.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from previous year
1996 99.5 0.7
1997 103.9 4.4
1998 110.6 6.5
1999 115.2 4.2
2000 114.7 -0.4
2001 115.1 0.4
2002 112.6 -2.2
2003 116.0 3.0
2004 123.7 6.6
2005P 129.9 5.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: P = preliminary

Table 3: Percent Changes in the Transportation Services Index from Previous Years to 2005
March to March

Excel | CSV

Percent change to March 2005 Since March . . . Duration
5.0 2004 One Year
12.0 2003 Two Years
15.4 2002 Three Years
12.8 2001 Four Years
13.3 2000 Five Years
12.8 1999 Six Years
17.5 1998 Seven Years
25.1 1997 Eight Years
30.6 1996 Nine Years

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from previous year
1996 99.4 -1.4
1997 103.8 4.4
1998 113.0 8.8
1999 117.3 3.8
2000 113.9 -2.9
2001 113.6 -0.3
2002 113.4 -0.2
2003 118.5 4.5
2004 125.2 5.7
2005P 130.2 4.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from previous year
1996 99.6 5.5
1997 104.0 4.4
1998 105.6 1.6
1999 110.8 4.9
2000 117.2 5.7
2001 119.5 2.0
2002 111.3 -6.9
2003 110.4 -0.7
2004 120.6 9.2
2005P 129.9 7.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: P = preliminary

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.