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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.8% in November from October

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.8% in November from October

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BTS 02-10
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.8 percent in November from its October level, rising after two consecutive monthly declines, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the Freight TSI rose in four of the last six months (Table 2). The index has increased 2.9 percent in six months, following three consecutive monthly increases that began in June. For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments in ton-miles, which are then combined into one index.  The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

The November Freight TSI of 96.2 is a 2.9 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May. In May, the index was at its lowest level in more than a decade since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 14.7 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

In the first 11 months of 2009, the Freight TSI declined 4.1 percent. This January-to-November decline was exceeded twice in the last 10 years, most recently by the 6.0 percent decline in 2008 (Table 3).

The November Freight TSI of 96.2 is the lowest for November since November 1996 when it was 89.6. The 6.8 percent decline in the Freight TSI from November 2008 to November 2009 was the largest November-to-November decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated (Table 4). The November 2008 Freight TSI had already declined 6.1 percent from its November 2007 level, resulting in a two-year decline of 12.5 percent.

The freight index is also down 13.6 percent in the five years from November 2004. The index is down 7.7 percent in the 10 years from November 1999 (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 December index is scheduled for Feb. 10.

BTS has issued a report explaining the TSI. Transportation Services Index and the Economy is available for download in the BTS bookstore.

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers fell 1.4 percent in November from its October level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI November 2009 level of 108.8 was 2.7 percent below the November 2008 level, for the second consecutive November-to-November decrease, and marking the first consecutive November-to-November decreases in the 20-year history of the TSI (Table 7). Despite recent declines, the index is up 1.9 percent in five years and 10.0 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in travel conducted in the for-hire passenger transportation sector. 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 rose 1.0 percent in November from its October level (Table 8). The combined TSI November 2009 level of 99.0 was 5.8 percent lower than the November 2008 level, leaving the index at its lowest November level since 2001 (Table 9). The combined index is down 9.9 percent in five years and down 3.4 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 June (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The July Freight TSI is 95.8, revised from the 95.5 reported in last month's release. The July Passenger TSI is 110.6, revised from 110.4. The July Combined TSI is 99.1, revised from 98.8. The TSI for August, September, October and November 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, is available at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml

More information about the comprehensive revision conducted with the July release is provided under 2009 Comprehensive Revision at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes since May 2009
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
May 93.5 -0.1 108.7 -1.2 96.9 -0.4
June 94.1 0.6 109.3 0.5 97.4 0.6
JulyR 95.8 1.9 110.6 1.3 99.1 1.7
AugustP 96.2 0.4 111.2 0.5 99.5 0.4
SeptemberP 95.7 -0.5 110.3 -0.8 98.9 -0.6
OctoberP 94.5 -1.2 110.3 -0.1 98.0 -0.9
NovemberP 96.2 1.8 108.8 -1.4 99.0 1.0

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, 2006-2009
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth
January 0.3 -0.6 2.3 -2.5
February -1.4 -0.3 -0.9 1.0
March 0.7 1.9 -1.4 -3.6
April -0.4 -0.7 0.6 -1.8
May 2.3 -0.4 0.0 -0.1
June -0.8 -1.0 -0.8 0.6
July -0.8 -0.3 0.8 (R) 1.9
August -2.3 0.7 -2.2 (P) 0.4
September 2.5 -1.0 -1.6 (P) -0.5
October -1.5 1.7 -0.6 (P) -1.2
November -1.4 0.6 -2.2 (P) 1.8
December 1.3 -0.1 -2.8  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 2000-2009
Percent change from December of previous year
December to November

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2000 -5.7 7.6 -1.7
2001 -0.3 -14.1 -4.6
2002 6.5 5.3 6.1
2003 0.8 1.9 1.1
2004 3.1 5.9 3.9
2005 1.8 3.3 2.2
2006 -3.0 3.9 -1.3
2007 0.5 2.2 1.0
2008 -6.0 -5.5 -5.9
2009P -4.1 -1.8 -3.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 99.1 -5.0
2001 97.6 -1.4
2002 103.7 6.2
2003 105.4 1.6
2004 111.4 5.7
2005 112.8 1.3
2006 107.9 -4.4
2007 109.9 1.9
2008 103.2 -6.1
2009P 96.2 -6.8

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 2009 (November to November)

Excel | CSV

Since November... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to Nov 2009 Passenger TSI Percent change to Nov 2009 Combined TSI Percent change to Nov 2009
2008 1 -6.8 -2.7 -5.8
2007 2 -12.5 -7.3 -11.2
2006 3 -10.8 -4.3 -9.2
2005 4 -14.7 -1.3 -11.6
2004 5 -13.6 1.9 -9.9
2003 6 -8.7 9.0 -4.5
2002 7 -7.2 13.3 -2.4
2001 8 -1.4 25.6 5.0
2000 9 -2.9 6.2 -1.1
1999 10 -7.7 10.0 -3.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to November 2009 are all preliminary.

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2006-2009
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth
January 1.3 0.3 -0.2 -0.7
February -0.1 -0.7 -1.0 -0.4
March 0.3 2.0 0.2 -0.9
April 0.5 -0.3 1.1 1.4
May 0.2 2.4 -0.5 -1.2
June -0.9 -2.1 -0.4 0.5
July 0.2 -0.3 -0.2 (R) 1.3
August -0.9 1.0 -1.1 (P) 0.5
September 1.1 1.4 -0.6 (P) -0.8
October 1.3 -0.8 -1.4 (P) -0.1
November 0.9 -0.5 -1.8 (P) -1.4
December 1.0 0.9 -0.9  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 102.4 3.6
2001 86.6 -15.5
2002 96.0 10.9
2003 99.7 3.9
2004 106.7 7.0
2005 110.2 3.3
2006 113.6 3.1
2007 117.3 3.2
2008 111.8 -4.7
2009P 108.8 -2.7

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, 2006-2009
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth
January 0.5 -0.4 1.7 -2.1
February -1.0 -0.4 -0.9 0.7
March 0.6 1.9 -1.0 -2.9
April -0.1 -0.6 0.7 -1.0
May 1.7 0.3 -0.1 -0.4
June -0.8 -1.3 -0.7 0.6
July -0.6 -0.3 0.6 (R) 1.7
August -2.0 0.8 -2.0 (P) 0.4
September 2.2 -0.4 -1.3 (P) -0.6
October -0.8 1.1 -0.8 (P) -0.9
November -0.9 0.3 -2.1 (P) 1.0
December 1.2 0.2 -2.4  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 100.1 -2.3
2001 94.3 -5.9
2002 101.4 7.5
2003 103.6 2.2
2004 109.9 6.1
2005 111.9 1.8
2006 109.1 -2.6
2007 111.5 2.2
2008 105.1 -5.7
2009P 99.0 -5.8

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 freight index measure changes in freight shipments while the passenger index measures changes in passenger travel.

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.