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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was Unchanged in February from January

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was Unchanged in February from January

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BTS 16-08
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was unchanged in February from January, following a 2.4 percent monthly increase in January, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

Since dropping to a recent low in September, the freight index has increased in three months, declined in one month and has been unchanged in one month (Table 2).  At 111.5, the freight TSI is down 1.5 percent from its peak of 113.1 achieved in November 2005 but up 3.2 percent in the five months since its recent low of 108.0 in September 2007. For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

The 2.4 percent increase in the freight index since December was the largest in the first two months of the year in at least a decade. It was the first December to February increase since 2005 (Table 3).

The freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire freight transportation industries. The index consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

The February freight TSI level of 111.5 was 2.7 percent higher than the February 2007 level. The index is 1.1 percent above the February 2006 level but 0.4 percent lower than the February 2005 level (Table 4).  

Despite declines from recent February levels, the freight index has increased 9.2 percent in five years and 13.7 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The TSI is a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present. Release of the March index is scheduled for May 14.

BTS has issued a new technical report explaining the TSI. BTS Technical Report: Transportation Services Index and the Economy is available for download at https://www.bts.gov/pdc/index.xml in the BTS bookstore.

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers fell 1.2 percent in February from its January level, falling for the second consecutive month (Table 6). The Passenger TSI February 2008 level of 114.1 was 2.1 percent higher than the February 2007 level, marking six consecutive annual increases since February 2003 (Table 7). With the February decline, the passenger index fell for the first two months of the year for the second year in a row (Table 3). However, the passenger index is up 20.1 percent in five years and 25.8 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire passenger transportation industries. The seasonally adjusted index consists of data from air, local transit and intercity rail.

Combined Freight and Passenger Index

The combined freight and passenger TSI fell 0.3 percent in February from its January level, declining after a one-month increase (Table 8). The combined TSI February 2008 level of 111.8 was 2.5 percent higher than the February 2007 level (Table 9). Despite the February decline, the combined index rose for the first two months of the year for the first time since 2005 (Table 3). The combined index is up 11.9 percent in five years and 16.9 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

More on TSI

Note:TSI numbers for October (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The October Freight TSI is 109.8, revised from the 109.5 reported in the March release. The October Passenger TSI is 118.2, revised from 116.0. The October Combined TSI is 111.5, revised from 110.7. The TSI for November, December, January and February 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 monthly revision policy, the 2007 comprehensive revision conducted with the July release and the TSI index is available at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Since August 2007
Percent Change by Month
(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Freight Passenger Combined
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
August 109.0 0.5 117.4 1.1 110.7 0.7
September 108.0 -0.9 117.4 -0.1 109.9 -0.7
OctoberR 109.8 1.7 118.2 0.7 111.5 1.4
NovemberP 110.2 0.3 115.0 -2.7 111.0 -0.4
DecemberP 108.8 -1.3 117.1 1.8 110.5 -0.5
JanuaryP 111.5 2.4 115.5 -1.4 112.1 1.5
FebruaryP 111.5 0.0 114.1 -1.2 111.8 -0.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2005-2008
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth
January 1.7 0.4 -0.3 (P) 2.4
February -0.9 -1.4 0.0 (P) 0.0
March 0.1 0.4 1.1  
April -0.3 -0.3 -0.4  
May 0.0 2.4 -0.1  
June -0.4 -0.3 -0.7  
July -0.5 -0.9 0.1  
August 1.0 -2.5 0.5  
September -1.3 0.9 -0.9  
October -0.3 -0.1 (R) 1.7  
November 2.8 -1.4 (P) 0.3  
December -1.7 0.6 (P) -1.3  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 1999-2008
Percent change from December of previous year
December to February

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
1999 1.8 0.0 1.2
2000 -0.8 1.5 -0.1
2001 0.7 -0.3 0.4
2002 1.7 2.0 1.8
2003 -2.4 -2.8 -2.5
2004 1.4 0.6 1.2
2005 0.9 1.3 1.0
2006 -0.9 1.2 -0.4
2007 -0.3 -2.1 -0.7
2008P 2.4 -2.6 1.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 101.7 3.7
2000 104.1 2.4
2001 98.5 -5.4
2002 98.9 0.4
2003 102.1 3.2
2004 109.6 7.4
2005 111.9 2.1
2006 110.2 -1.5
2007 108.5 -1.5
2008P 111.5 2.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 5: Transportation Services Indexes from Previous Years
Percent Change to February 2008 from February of previous years

Excel | CSV

Since February . . . Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to February 2008 Passenger TSI Percent change to February 2008 Combined TSI Percent change to February 2008
2007 1 2.7 2.1 2.5
2006 2 1.1 3.6 1.7
2005 3 -0.4 5.9 1.1
2004 4 1.7 12.9 4.5
2003 5 9.2 20.1 11.9
2002 6 12.7 22.6 15.1
2001 7 13.1 13.4 12.7
2000 8 7.0 17.9 9.9
1999 9 9.6 21.9 12.9
1998 10 13.7 25.8 16.9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to February 2008 are all preliminary

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2005-2008
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth
January 1.4 1.9 -0.1 (P) -1.4
February -0.1 -0.6 -2.0 (P) -1.2
March 0.5 1.0 2.2  
April 0.0 0.3 0.5  
May 0.8 0.6 1.5  
June 0.1 -1.0 -0.2  
July 0.1 0.5 -0.1  
August 0.2 0.0 1.1  
September 1.4 0.9 -0.1  
October -1.9 0.4 (R) 0.7  
November 0.7 -0.2 (P) -2.7  
December -0.9 1.1 (P) 1.8  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 93.6 3.2
2000 96.7 3.4
2001 100.6 4.0
2002 93.1 -7.5
2003 95.0 2.0
2004 101.0 6.4
2005 107.8 6.7
2006 110.2 2.2
2007 111.7 1.4
2008P 114.1 2.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 8: Combined Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2005-2008
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth
January 1.6 0.8 -0.3 (P) 1.5
February -0.7 -1.2 -0.5 (P) -0.3
March 0.2 0.6 1.4  
April -0.2 -0.1 -0.2  
May 0.2 2.0 0.3  
June -0.3 -0.4 -0.6  
July -0.3 -0.6 0.0  
August 0.8 -1.9 0.7  
September -0.6 0.9 -0.7  
October -0.7 0.1 (R) 1.4  
November 2.3 -1.1 (P) -0.4  
December -1.5 0.7 (P) -0.5  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 99.1 3.6
2000 101.7 2.7
2001 99.2 -2.5
2002 97.1 -2.1
2003 99.9 2.9
2004 107.0 7.1
2005 110.6 3.3
2006 109.9 -0.6
2007 109.0 -0.8
2008P 111.8 2.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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 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.