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Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.6 Percent in March from February

Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.6 Percent in March from February

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BTS 21-07
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 - The Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.6 percent in March from its February level, rising after two months of decline, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The March increase was only the fourth increase in the past 12 months but it was the largest monthly increase since February 2004 (Table 2). The index is 1.0 percent below its peak in May 2006.

The index rose 0.8 percent in the first quarter, the fourth consecutive December-to-March increase (Table 3).

The March level of 111.0 for the combined freight and passenger index was 0.1 percent higher than the March 2006 level, following a decline from March 2005 to March 2006 (Table 4). The March 2007 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. For additional historical data prior to 2004, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml. Release of the April index is scheduled for June 13.

Transportation Services Index for Freight

The TSI for freight rose 1.3 percent in March from the February level, rising after two monthly declines. The rise was the largest monthly increase since May 2006 (Table 6). The March freight index of 109.1 was down 1.4 percent from its March 2006 level (Table 7), and down 3.3 percent from its peak of 112.8 first achieved in January 2005. Year-to-date, the freight index rose 0.6 percent, following a decline in December-to-March for the previous year (Table 3).

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers rose 2.5 percent in March from the February level, rising after three months of decline in the largest monthly increase since March 2005 (Table 8). The Passenger TSI March 2007 level of 113.8 was 2.5 percent higher than the March 2006 level, the fifth consecutive annual increase since a decline in 2002 (Table 9). Year-to-date, the passenger index rose 1.3 percent, continuing a string of December-to-March increases that began in 2003 (Table 3).

1st Quarter Changes

On a quarterly basis, the combined TSI rose 0.8 percent in the first quarter, rising for the second consecutive quarter (Table 10). The Freight TSI increased 0.6 percent in the first quarter, rising after two consecutive quarterly declines. The freight index has increased in only 16 of the 29 quarters since first quarter 2000 (Table 11). The Passenger TSI rose 1.3 percent in the first quarter, rising after a one quarter decline. 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 November 2006 (Total, Freight, and Passenger) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The November TSI is 108.8, revised from the 109.1 reported in the April release. The November Freight TSI is 107.1, revised from 107.6. The November Passenger TSI is 113.5, revised from 111.0. 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.  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 September 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
September 110.0 0.9 108.6 0.8 113.2 1.1
October 110.0 0.0 108.5 -0.1 113.5 0.3
NovemberR 108.8 -1.0 107.1 -1.4 113.5 0.0
DecemberP 110.1 1.2 108.4 1.3 112.4 -1.0
JanuaryP 109.5 -0.6 107.9 -0.4 111.4 -0.9
FebruaryP 109.2 -0.3 107.7 -0.2 111.0 -0.3
MarchP 111.0 1.6 109.1 1.3 113.8 2.5

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, 2004-2007
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

Month 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth
January -1.4 1.5 0.3 (P) -0.6
February 2.8 -1.4 -1.3 (P) -0.3
March 0.7 1.5 1.3 (P) 1.6
April 0.7 0.0 -0.3  
May -0.4 0.4 1.5  
June 1.0 -0.5 -0.3  
July -0.2 -0.1 -0.4  
August -0.4 -0.1 -2.1  
September 0.5 -0.3 0.9  
October 0.1 -0.9 0.0  
November 0.9 1.6 (R) -1.0  
December -0.3 -0.9 (P) 1.2  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Transportation Services Index Annual Change, 1998-2007
Percent change from December of previous year
December to March

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Freight Passenger
1998 1.1 1.8 -0.3
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
2006 0.3 -0.3 1.4
2007P 0.8 0.6 1.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Percent change from same month previous year
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
2006 110.9 -0.7
2007P 111.0 0.1

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 2007 (March to March)

Excel | CSV

Percent change to March 2007 Since March. . . Duration in years
0.1 2006 1
-0.6 2005 2
2.8 2004 3
10.6 2003 4
14.3 2002 5
11.5 2001 6
11.6 2000 7
11.1 1999 8
15.6 1998 9
23.4 1997 10

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to March 2007 are all preliminary.

Table 6: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2004-2007
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

Month 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth
January -1.6 1.4 0.2 (P) -0.4
February 2.6 -1.2 -1.3 (P) -0.2
March 0.9 1.0 0.9 (P) 1.3
April 0.6 0.0 -0.9  
May -0.3 0.2 2.1  
June 0.8 -0.5 -0.3  
July -0.5 -0.5 -0.8  
August -0.6 0.4 -2.7  
September 0.5 -1.3 0.8  
October -0.5 -0.6 -0.1  
November 1.3 2.0 (R) -1.4  
December -0.4 -1.1 (P) 1.3  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

Year Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
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
2006 110.6 -1.7
2007P 109.1 -1.4

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, 2004-2007
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

Month 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth
January -1.1 1.5 0.6 (P) -0.9
February 3.4 -2.0 -1.3 (P) -0.3
March 0.1 2.9 2.1 (P) 2.5
April 0.8 -0.1 0.5  
May -0.7 0.8 0.5  
June 1.6 -0.5 -0.4  
July 0.5 0.9 0.3  
August 0.1 -1.3 -0.1  
September 0.5 2.3 1.1  
October 1.6 -1.9 0.3  
November -0.2 0.4 (R) 0.0  
December -0.2 -0.4 (P) -1.0  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

Year Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
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
2006 111.0 1.6
2007P 113.8 2.5

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, 1998-2007
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
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 -1.6 (P) 0.1
2007 (P) 0.8      

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 11: Freight Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1998-2007
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
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 -2.7 (P) -0.2
2007 (P) 0.6      

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 12: Passenger Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1998-2007
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
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 1.3 (P)-0.7
2007 (P)1.3      

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.