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Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 0.4 Percent in 2006

Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 0.4 Percent in 2006

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BTS 06-07
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - The Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 0.4 percent in 2006 for the first annual decline since 2001 while the freight TSI declined for the second consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 3).

The passenger index rose 2.7 percent during 2006, topping the increase in 2005 and continuing a string of five consecutive annual increases after a decline in 2001 (Table 3).

The December TSI, a combination of freight and passenger indexes, rose 0.9 percent from its November level, rising after a one-month decline (Table 1). 

The index has not increased in consecutive months since November 2004 (Table 2). Even with December’s increase, the index was lower at the end of 2006 than it was in November 2004. For additional historical data prior to 2003, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

The December level of 110.1 for the combined freight and passenger index was 0.4 percent lower than the December 2005 level, the first decline from December of the previous year since 2001 (Table 4). The December 2006 level was 11.7 percent higher than the December level of the base year of 2000, but only 0.2 percent higher than the December 2004 level (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 January index is scheduled for March 14.

Transportation Services Index for Freight

The TSI for freight rose 0.8 percent in December from the November level, following two monthly declines (Table 6). The December freight index of 108.4 was down 3.9 percent from its peak of 112.8 in January 2005. The Freight TSI December 2006 level of 108.4 was the lowest December level since 2003. The Freight TSI December 2006 level fell 2.3 percent from the December 2005 level, the largest decline since 2000 and the second largest decline in the last 10 years (Table 7).

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers rose 1.2 percent in December from the November level, rising after a one-month decline (Table 8). The Passenger TSI December 2006 level rose 2.7 percent from the December 2005 level, the fifth consecutive annual increase since a decline in 2001 (Table 9).

4th Quarter 2006 Changes

On a quarterly basis, the TSI fell 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, falling for the second consecutive quarter (Table 10). The Freight TSI decreased 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, also falling for the second consecutive quarter. The freight index has declined in six of the last 10 quarters (Table 11). The Passenger TSI rose 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, following a decline in the third quarter. The passenger index rose in all but two of the 15 quarters beginning with the third quarter of 2003 (Table 12).

More on TSI

Note:TSI numbers for August 2006 (Total, Freight, and Passenger) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The August TSI is 109.0, revised from the 108.7 reported in the January release. The August Freight TSI is 107.8, revised from 108.1. The August Passenger TSI is 112.0, revised from 108.8. The TSI for September, October, November and December 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. 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 June 2006

Percent Change by Month

(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Freight Passenger
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
June 111.8 −0.3 111.6 −0.3 111.7 −0.4
July 111.3 −0.4 110.7 −0.8 112.1 0.3
AugustR 109.0 −2.1 107.8 −2.7 112.0 −0.1
SeptemberP 110.3 1.2 109.5 1.6 110.7 −1.2
OctoberP 110.3 0.0 109.1 −0.4 111.3 0.6
NovemberP 109.1 −1.0 107.6 −1.4 111.0 −0.3
DecemberP 110.1 0.9 108.4 0.8 112.4 1.2

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

  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 1.5
June 1.0 1.0 −0.5 −0.3
July 1.3 −0.2 −0.1 −0.4
August −0.3 −0.4 −0.1 (R) −2.1
September 1.1 0.5 −0.3 (P) 1.2
October 0.7 0.1 −0.9 (P) −0.0
November −0.1 0.9 1.6 (P) −1.0
December 2.3 −0.3 −0.9 (P) 0.9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Transportation Services Index Annual Change, 1997-2006

Percent change from December of previous year

December to December

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Freight Passenger
1997 7.4 9.2 3.6
1998 2.9 2.8 3.0
1999 4.4 5.3 2.6
2000 −3.4 −7.0 5.6
2001 −3.6 −0.6 −10.6
2002 7.8 7.5 8.8
2003 3.3 3.5 2.8
2004 3.9 2.9 6.4
2005 0.5 −0.3 2.5
2006P −0.4 −2.3 2.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 4: Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the December TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 94.9 7.4
1998 97.7 2.9
1999 102.0 4.4
2000 98.6 −3.4
2001 95.0 −3.6
2002 102.4 7.8
2003 105.8 3.3
2004 109.9 3.9
2005 110.5 0.5
2006P 110.1 −0.4

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 (December to December)

Excel | CSV

Percent change to December 2006 Since December . . . Duration in years
−0.4 2005 1
0.2 2004 2
4.1 2003 3
7.5 2002 4
15.9 2001 5
11.7 2000 6
7.9 1999 7
12.7 1998 8
16.0 1997 9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to December 2006 are all preliminary

Table 6: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2003-2006

Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  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 2.1
June 0.8 0.8 −0.5 −0.3
July 0.5 −0.5 −0.5 −0.8
August −0.1 −0.6 0.4 (R) −2.7
September 0.6 0.5 −1.3 (P) 1.6
October 1.3 −0.5 −0.6 (P) −0.4
November −0.8 1.3 2.0 (P) −1.4
December 2.9 −0.4 −1.1 (P) 0.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 7: Freight Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the December Freight TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 97.1 9.2
1998 99.9 2.8
1999 105.1 5.3
2000 97.8 −7.0
2001 97.2 −0.6
2002 104.5 7.5
2003 108.1 3.5
2004 111.2 2.9
2005 110.9 −0.3
2006P 108.4 −2.3

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

  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 0.5
June 1.5 1.6 −0.5 −0.4
July 3.4 0.5 0.9 0.3
August −0.6 0.1 −1.3 (R) −0.1
September 2.2 0.5 2.3 (P) −1.2
October −0.7 1.6 −1.9 (P) 0.6
November 1.3 −0.2 0.4 (P) −0.3
December 1.1 −0.2 −0.4 (P) 1.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 9: Passenger Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the December Passenger TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 89.9 3.6
1998 92.6 3.0
1999 95.0 2.6
2000 100.3 5.6
2001 89.7 −10.6
2002 97.6 8.8
2003 100.3 2.8
2004 106.8 6.4
2005 109.5 2.5
2006P 112.4 2.7

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 0.8 (P) −1.3 (P) −0.2

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 0.9 (P) −1.9 (P) −1.0

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 0.6 (P) −0.9 (P) 1.5

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.