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Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.5 Percent in September from August

Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.5 Percent in September from August

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BTS 52-06
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006 - The Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.5 percent in September from its August level, rising one month after the largest monthly decline in five years, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The rise in September was the first monthly increase after three consecutive monthly declines and the largest monthly increase since May (Table 2). For additional historical data prior to 2003, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

For the first nine months of 2006, the TSI, a combination of the freight and passenger indexes, fell 0.2 percent, the first December-to-September decline since 2001 (Table 3).

The September level of 110.3 for the combined freight and passenger index was 0.5 percent lower than the September 2005 level, the first decline from September of the previous year since September 2001 (Table 4). The September 2006 level was 10.2 percent higher than the September 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 October index is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Transportation Services Index for Freight

The TSI for freight rose 1.3 percent in September from the August level, rising after two consecutive monthly decreases (Table 6). The Freight TSI September 2006 level fell 1.0 percent from the September 2005 level, the second consecutive decline from September of the previous year and the largest September-to-September decline since 2001 (Table 7). For the first nine months of 2006, the Freight TSI fell 1.3 percent, the second consecutive decline in the December-to-September period and the biggest decline in the period since 2000 (Table 3).

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers rose 1.7 percent in September from the August level, climbing after a one-month decline (Table 8). The Passenger TSI September 2006 level fell 0.7 percent from the September 2005 level, the first September-to-September decline since 2001 (Table 9). For the first nine months of 2006, the Passenger TSI rose 1.1 percent, continuing a string of five consecutive December-to-September increases that began in 2002 (Table 3).

3rd Quarter 2006 Changes

On a quarterly basis, the TSI decline of 1.4 percent in the third quarter of 2006 was the first quarterly decrease following two consecutive quarterly rises (Table 10). The Freight TSI decreased 2.7 percent in the third quarter of 2006 following a one quarter rise (Table 11). The Passenger TSI increased 0.6 percent in the third quarter of 2006, rising after a decrease in the second quarter (Table 12).

More on TSI

NOTE:TSI numbers for May 2006 (Total, Freight, and Passenger) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The May TSI is 112.1, revised from the 112.4 reported in the October release. The May Freight TSI is 111.9, revised from 113.2. The May Passenger TSI is 112.2, revised from 110.2. The TSI for June, July, August and September 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: Transportation Services Index Since March 2006
Percent Change by Month
(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Month TSI Freight Passenger
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
March 110.9 1.3 110.6 0.9 111.0 2.1
April 110.5 -0.3 109.6 -0.9 111.6 0.5
MayR 112.1 1.5 111.9 2.1 112.2 0.5
JuneP 111.9 -0.2 112.6 0.6 110.0 -1.9
JulyP 111.5 -0.4 111.7 -0.8 110.2 0.2
AugustP 108.7 -2.5 108.1 -3.2 108.8 -1.2
SeptemberP 110.3 1.5 109.5 1.3 110.7 1.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Excel | CSV

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -1.0 -1.4 1.5 0.3
February -1.9 2.8 -1.4 -1.3
March 0.9 0.7 1.5 1.3
April -0.5 0.7 0.0 -0.3
May -0.2 -0.4 0.4 (R) 1.5
June 1.0 1.0 -0.5 (P) -0.2
July 1.3 -0.2 -0.1 (P) -0.4
August -0.3 -0.4 -0.1 (P) -2.5
September 1.1 0.5 -0.3 (P) 1.5
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
Percent change from December of previous year
December to September

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Freight Passenger
1997 7.1 8.3 4.7
1998 2.0 2.8 0.2
1999 4.4 4.2 5.0
2000 -1.9 -6.0 8.3
2001 -6.7 -0.4 -21.0
2002 5.1 5.5 4.2
2003 0.3 0.0 1.1
2004 3.2 2.5 5.2
2005 0.8 -0.6 4.5
2006P -0.2 -1.3 1.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 94.7 8.8
1998 96.9 2.3
1999 102.0 5.3
2000 100.1 -1.9
2001 92.0 -8.1
2002 99.9 8.6
2003 102.8 2.9
2004 109.3 6.3
2005 110.8 1.4
2006P 110.3 -0.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 5: Transportation Services Index from Previous Years
Percent Change to 2006 (September to September)

Excel | CSV

Percent change to September 2006 Since August. . . Duration in years
-0.5 2005 1
1.0 2004 2
7.3 2003 3
10.5 2002 4
19.9 2001 5
10.2 2000 6
8.1 1999 7
13.9 1998 8
16.5 1997 9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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

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

Excel | CSV

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -1.1 -1.6 1.4 0.2
February -1.4 2.6 -1.2 -1.3
March 1.2 0.9 1.0 0.9
April 0.7 0.6 0.0 -0.9
May -1.2 -0.3 0.2 (R) 2.1
June 0.8 0.8 -0.5 (P) 0.6
July 0.5 -0.5 -0.5 (P) -0.8
August -0.1 -0.6 0.4 (P) -3.2
September 0.6 0.5 -1.3 (P) 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: Freight Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year
Percent change in the September Freight TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Year Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 96.3 10.0
1998 99.9 3.7
1999 104.0 4.2
2000 98.9 -5.0
2001 97.4 -1.5
2002 102.6 5.3
2003 104.5 1.9
2004 110.8 6.0
2005 110.6 -0.2
2006P 109.5 -1.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Excel | CSV

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -0.8 -1.1 1.5 0.6
February -3.1 3.4 -2.0 -1.3
March 0.2 0.1 2.9 2.1
April -3.7 0.8 -0.1 0.5
May 2.3 -0.7 0.8 (R) 0.5
June 1.5 1.6 -0.5 (P) -1.9
July 3.4 0.5 0.9 (P) 0.2
August -0.6 0.1 -1.3 (P) -1.2
September 2.2 0.5 2.3 (P) 1.7
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: Passenger Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year
Percent change in the September Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Year Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 90.8 6.3
1998 90.1 -0.8
1999 97.2 8.0
2000 103.0 5.9
2001 79.3 -23.0
2002 93.5 17.9
2003 98.7 5.5
2004 105.5 7.0
2005 111.5 5.7
2006P 110.7 -0.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 10: Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1997-2006
Percent 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 -0.3
2006 0.3 (P) 0.9 (P) -1.4  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 11: Freight Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1997-2006
Percent 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 0.3
2006 -0.3 (P) 1.8 (P) -2.7  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 12: Passenger Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1997-2006
Percent 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 -1.9
2006 1.4 (P) -0.9 (P) 0.6  

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.