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Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.8 Percent in March from February

Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.8 Percent in March from February

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BTS 22-06
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - The Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.8 percent in March from its February level, rising after three consecutive months of decline, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The last monthly rise that was greater than March's 0.8 percent was a rise in November 2005 of 1.6 percent (Table 2).

For the first three months of 2006, the TSI, a combination of the freight and passenger indexes, fell 0.2 percent, the first decline in the three-month period since 2003 (Table 3).

The March level of 111.0 for the combined freight and passenger index was 0.5 percent lower than the March 2005 level, the first decline from March of the previous year since 2002 (Table 4). The March level was 11.6 percent higher than the March level of the base year of 2000 (Table 5).

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 of the base year of 2000. Release of the April index is scheduled for June 6.

Transportation Services Index for Freight

The TSI for freight rose 0.2 percent in March from the February level, rising after a one month decrease (Table 6). The Freight TSI March 2006 level is 0.8 percent lower than the March 2005 level, the first decline from March of the previous year since 2002 (Table 7). For the first three months of 2006, the Freight TSI, fell 0.2 percent, the first decline in the three-month period since 2003 (Table 3).

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers rose 1.7 percent in March from the February level, rising after a two-month decline (Table 8). The Passenger TSI March 2006 level fell by less than 0.1 percent from the March 2005 level, the first decline from March of the previous year since 2002 (Table 9). For the first three months of 2006, the Passenger TSI, fell 0.7 percent, the first decline in the three-month period since 2003 (Table 3).

1st Quarter 2006 Changes

On a quarterly basis, the TSI's fall of 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2006 was the first quarterly decrease following a one-quarter increase (Table 10). The Freight TSI decrease of 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2006 was the first quarterly decrease following a one-quarter increase (Table 11). The Passenger TSI decrease of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2006 was the second consecutive quarterly decrease (Table 12).

More on TSI

NOTE: TSI numbers for November 2005 (Total, Freight, and Passenger) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The November TSI is 111.5, revised from the 112.2 reported in the March release. The November Freight TSI is 112.1, revised from 113.2. The November Passenger TSI is 109.9, revised from 109.5. The TSI for December, January, February and March are preliminary.

TSI revision policy: TSI is updated monthly with the latest four 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 June TSI release. More information about the revision policy and the TSI index 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 2005 (Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Freight Passenger
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
September 110.8 -0.3 110.6 -1.3 111.5 2.3
October 109.8 -0.9 109.9 -0.6 109.4 -1.9
NovemberR 111.5 1.6 112.1 2.0 109.9 0.4
DecemberP 111.3 -0.2 111.8 -0.3 110.0 0.1
JanuaryP 111.3 -0.1 112.3 0.5 108.7 -1.2
FebruaryP 110.2 -0.9 111.4 -0.8 107.4 -1.2
MarchP 111.0 0.8 111.6 0.2 109.2 1.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 2: Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2003-2006
Percentage change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -1.0 -1.4 1.5 (P) -0.1
February -1.9 2.8 -1.4 (P) -0.9
March 0.9 0.7 1.5 (P) 0.8
April -0.5 0.7 0.0  
May -0.2 -0.4 0.4  
June 1.0 1.0 -0.5  
July 1.3 -0.2 -0.1  
August -0.3 -0.4 -0.1  
September 1.1 0.5 -0.3  
October 0.7 0.1 -0.9  
November -0.1 0.9 (R) 1.6  
December 2.3 -0.3 (P) -0.2  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Transportation Services Index Year-to-Date Change, 1997-2006
Percentage change from December of previous year
December to March

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Freight Passenger
1997 1.8 1.9 1.5
1998 1.0 1.4 0.2
1999 2.3 2.9 0.9
2000 -2.5 -5.1 3.9
2001 1.0 1.3 0.4
2002 2.3 1.6 4.0
2003 -2.0 -1.3 -3.7
2004 2.0 1.9 2.3
2005 1.5 1.2 2.4
2006P -0.2 -0.2 -0.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 4: Percent changes in the Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year
March TSI (Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 90.0 4.5
1998 96.0 6.7
1999 99.9 4.1
2000 99.5 -0.5
2001 99.6 0.1
2002 97.1 -2.4
2003 100.4 3.3
2004 108.0 7.6
2005 111.6 3.4
2006P 111.0 -0.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 5: Percent Changes in the Transportation Services Index from Previous Years to 2006
March to March

Excel | CSV

Percent change to March 2006 Since March . . . Duration in years
-0.5 2005 1
2.8 2004 2
10.6 2003 3
14.3 2002 4
11.5 2001 5
11.6 2000 6
11.1 1999 7
15.6 1998 8
23.4 1997 9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to March 2006 are all preliminary.

Table 6: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2003-2006
Percentage change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -1.1 -1.6 1.4 (P) 0.5
February -1.4 2.6 -1.2 (P) -0.8
March 1.2 0.9 1.0 (P) 0.2
April 0.7 0.6 0.0  
May -1.2 -0.3 0.2  
June 0.8 0.8 -0.5  
July 0.5 -0.5 -0.5  
August -0.1 -0.6 0.4  
September 0.6 0.5 -1.3  
October 1.3 -0.5 -0.6  
November -0.8 1.3 (R) 2.0  
December 2.9 -0.4 (P) -0.3  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 7: Percent changes in the Freight Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year
March Freight TSI (Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 90.6 4.5
1998 98.8 9.0
1999 102.8 4.0
2000 99.8 -2.9
2001 99.1 -0.7
2002 98.8 -0.3
2003 103.1 4.4
2004 110.2 6.9
2005 112.5 2.1
2006P 111.6 -0.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 8: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2003-2006
Percentage change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -0.8 -1.1 1.5 (P) -1.2
February -3.1 3.4 -2.0 (P) -1.2
March 0.2 0.1 2.9 (P) 1.7
April -3.7 0.8 -0.1  
May 2.3 -0.7 0.8  
June 1.5 1.6 -0.5  
July 3.4 0.5 0.9  
August -0.6 0.1 -1.3  
September 2.2 0.5 2.3  
October -0.7 1.6 -1.9  
November 1.3 -0.2 (R) 0.4  
December 1.1 -0.2 (P) 0.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 9: Percent changes in the Passenger Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year
March Passenger TSI (Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Year Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 88.0 4.4
1998 89.7 1.9
1999 93.5 4.3
2000 98.8 5.7
2001 100.7 2.0
2002 93.3 -7.4
2003 94.0 0.8
2004 102.6 9.2
2005 109.3 6.5
2006P 109.2 0.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 10: Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1997-2006
Percentage change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
1997 1.8 1.2 4.0 0.3
1998 1.1 1.8 -0.9 0.9
1999 2.3 -0.2 2.3 0.0
2000 -2.5 0.8 -0.1 -1.6
2001 1.0 -0.3 -7.3 3.3
2002 2.3 2.1 0.7 2.6
2003 -2.0 0.2 2.1 2.9
2004 2.0 1.3 -0.1 0.6
2005 1.5 -0.2 -0.5 (P) 0.4
2006 (P) -0.2      

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 11: Freight Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1997-2006
Percentage change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
1997 1.9 1.9 4.2 0.8
1998 1.8 2.6 -1.5 0.0
1999 2.9 -0.4 1.6 1.1
2000 -5.1 0.5 -1.4 -1.1
2001 1.3 -0.2 -1.5 -0.1
2002 1.6 2.7 1.1 1.9
2003 -1.3 0.3 1.0 3.5
2004 1.9 1.1 -0.6 0.4
2005 1.2 -0.3 -1.4 (P) 1.1
2006 (P) -0.2      

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 12: Passenger Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1997-2006
Percentage change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
1997 1.5 -0.3 3.5 -1.0
1998 -0.3 -0.1 0.5 2.8
1999 0.9 0.3 3.7 -2.3
2000 3.9 1.5 2.7 -2.5
2001 0.4 -0.6 -20.9 13.2
2002 4.0 0.7 -0.5 4.3
2003 -3.7 0.0 5.0 1.7
2004 2.3 1.7 1.1 1.2
2005 2.4 0.2 1.9 (P) -1.4
2006 (P) -0.7      

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.