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Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.1 Percent in May from April

Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.1 Percent in May from April

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BTS 32-06
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Friday, July 7, 2006 - The Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.1 percent in May from its April level, rising for the third consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

Prior to the these three monthly increases, the last time there were three consecutive monthly increases was in September, October and November 2004 (Table 2).

For the first five months of 2006, the TSI, a combination of the freight and passenger indexes, rose 1.7 percent, the third consecutive December-to-May rise but the smallest rise in the five-month period since a decline in 2003 (Table 3).

The May level of 112.4 for the combined freight and passenger index was 0.3 percent higher than the May 2005 level, the fourth consecutive increase from May of the previous year but the smallest year-to-year rise since a decline in 2002 (Table 4). The May level was 12.7 percent higher than the May 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 June index is scheduled for Aug. 8.

Transportation Services Index for Freight

The TSI for freight rose 1.9 percent in May from the April level, turning up after a one-month decline (Table 6). The Freight TSI May 2006 level is 0.4 percent higher, the sixth consecutive rise from May of the previous year but the smallest year-to-year rise since a decline in 2000 (Table 7). For the first five months of 2006, the Freight TSI rose 2.0 percent, the third consecutive rise in the December-to-May period (Table 3).

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers fell 0.3 percent in May from the April level, falling after two monthly increases (Table 8). The Passenger TSI May 2006 level rose 0.1 percent from the May 2005 level, the third consecutive rise from May of the previous year but the smallest rise since a loss in 2003 (Table 9). For the first five months of 2006, the Passenger TSI rose 0.6 percent, the third consecutive December-to-May rise but the smallest rise in the five-month period since a decline in 2003 (Table 3).

More on TSI

NOTE:TSI numbers for January 2006 (Total, Freight, and Passenger) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The January TSI is 110.9, revised from the 111.3 reported in the June release. The January Freight TSI is 111.1, revised from 112.3. The January Passenger TSI is 110.2., revised from 108.7. The TSI for February, March, April and May 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 at the end of the calendar year. 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 November 2005 (Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Month TSI Freight Passenger
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
November 111.5 1.6 112.1 2.0 109.9 0.4
December 110.5 -0.9 110.9 -1.1 109.5 -0.4
JanuaryR 110.9 0.3 111.1 0.2 110.2 0.6
FebruaryP 110.2 -0.6 111.4 0.3 107.4 -2.5
MarchP 111.0 0.8 111.6 0.2 109.2 1.7
AprilP 111.2 0.1 111.0 -0.5 110.5 1.2
MayP 112.4 1.1 113.2 1.9 110.2 -0.3

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

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -1.0 -1.4 1.5 (R) 0.3
February -1.9 2.8 -1.4 (P) -0.6
March 0.9 0.7 1.5 (P) 0.8
April -0.5 0.7 0.0 (P) 0.1
May -0.2 -0.4 0.4 (P) 1.1
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 1.6  
December 2.3 -0.3 -0.9  

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 May

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Freight Passenger
1997 3.2 4.2 1.1
1998 1.1 1.8 -0.3
1999 2.2 2.7 0.8
2000 -2.3 -5.4 5.6
2001 1.5 2.2 -0.2
2002 4.5 4.2 5.3
2003 -2.7 -1.8 -5.1
2004 2.3 2.2 2.4
2005 1.9 1.4 3.1
2006P 1.7 2.0 0.6

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 91.3 5.3
1998 97.8 7.2
1999 99.8 2.0
2000 99.7 -0.1
2001 100.0 0.3
2002 99.3 -0.8
2003 99.7 0.4
2004 108.3 8.6
2005 112.0 3.5
2006P 112.4 0.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

Percent change to May 2006 Since May... Duration in years
0.3 2005 1
3.8 2004 2
12.7 2003 3
13.2 2002 4
12.3 2001 5
12.7 2000 6
12.6 1999 7
14.9 1998 8
23.1 1997 9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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

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

Excel | CSV

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -1.1 -1.6 1.4 (R) 0.2
February -1.4 2.6 -1.2 (P) 0.3
March 1.2 0.9 1.0 (P) 0.2
April 0.7 0.6 0.0 (P) -0.5
May -1.2 -0.3 0.2 (P) 1.9
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 2.0  
December 2.9 -0.4 -1.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

Year Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 92.7 5.8
1998 100.7 8.7
1999 102.6 1.8
2000 99.5 -3.0
2001 99.9 0.5
2002 101.3 1.4
2003 102.7 1.3
2004 110.5 7.7
2005 112.8 2.0
2006P 113.2 0.4

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

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -0.8 -1.1 1.5 (R) 0.6
February -3.1 3.4 -2.0 (P) -2.5
March 0.2 0.1 2.9 (P) 1.7
April -3.7 0.8 -0.1 (P) 1.2
May 2.3 -0.7 0.8 (P) -0.3
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 0.4  
December 1.1 -0.2 -0.4  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

Year Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 87.7 4.2
1998 91.1 3.9
1999 99.8 9.5
2000 100.3 0.5
2001 100.2 -0.2
2002 94.4 -5.7
2003 92.6 -1.9
2004 102.8 11.0
2005 110.0 7.1
2006P 110.2 0.1

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.