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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.4% in January from December

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.4% in January from December

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BTS 11-10
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, March 10, 2010 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.4 percent in January from its December 2009 level, rising after the index was unchanged in December, the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the Freight TSI index has risen 3.3 percent over the last eight months, starting in June. It has increased in six of the last eight months (Table 2). The index started 2010 with an increase in January, after having declined 4.1 percent during 2009 and 12.4 percent in two years (Table 3). For additional historic 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 January Freight TSI of 96.6 is a 3.3 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May. In May, the index was at its lowest level since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 14.4 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

The January Freight TSI of 96.6 is the lowest for January since January 1997 when it was 89.9. With a 1.3 percent decline from January 2009 to January 2010 following a 12.9 percent decline from January 2008 to January 2009, the index has declined 14.0 percent in two years (Table 4).

The freight index is down 14.3 percent in the five years from January 2005. The index is down 7.5 percent in the 10 years from January 2000 (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 February index is scheduled for April 14.

For a video explanation of the TSI, see Overview of the Transportation Services Index. For a BTS 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 rose 1.2 percent in January from its December level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI January 2010 level of 109.5 was 0.5 percent below the January 2009 level, for the second consecutive January-to-January decrease, and marking the first consecutive January-to-January decreases in the 20-year history of the TSI (Table 7). Despite recent declines, the index is up 1.2 percent in five years and 14.8 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 0.6 percent in January from its December level (Table 8). The combined TSI January 2010 level of 99.4 was 1.1 percent lower than the January 2009 level, leaving the index at its lowest January level since 2002 (Table 9). The combined index is down 10.7 percent in five years and down 2.0 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 September (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The September Freight TSI is 96.6, revised from the 95.7 reported in last months release. The September Passenger TSI is 110.4, revised from 110.3. The September Combined TSI is 99.7, revised from 98.9. The TSI for October, November, December and January 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 July 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
July 95.8 1.9 110.6 1.3 99.1 1.7
August 96.5 0.7 110.6 0.0 99.6 0.5
SeptemberR 96.6 0.1 110.4 -0.2 99.7 0.0
OctoberP 94.5 -2.2 110.3 -0.1 98.0 -1.7
NovemberP 96.2 1.8 108.8 -1.4 99.0 1.0
DecemberP 96.2 0.0 108.2 -0.5 98.8 -0.1
JanuaryP 96.6 0.4 109.5 1.2 99.4 0.6

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, 2007-2010
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth 2010 % Growth
January -0.6 2.3 -2.5 (P) 0.4
February -0.3 -0.9 1.0  
March 1.9 -1.4 -3.6  
April -0.7 0.6 -1.8  
May -0.4 0.0 -0.1  
June -1.0 -0.8 0.6  
July -0.3 0.8 1.9  
August 0.7 -2.2 0.7  
September -1.0 -1.6 (R) 0.1  
October 1.7 -0.6 (P) -2.2  
November 0.6 -2.2 (P) 1.8  
December -0.1 -2.8 (P) 0.0  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 2001-2010
Percent change from December of previous year
December to January

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2001 1.4 0.8 1.2
2002 0.8 0.4 0.7
2003 -1.2 -1.0 -1.1
2004 -1.4 -1.4 -1.4
2005 1.7 1.5 1.6
2006 0.3 1.3 0.5
2007 -0.6 0.3 -0.4
2008 2.3 -0.2 1.7
2009 -2.5 -0.7 -2.1
2010P 0.4 1.2 0.6

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 99.2 -5.0
2002 98.2 -1.1
2003 103.3 5.2
2004 106.6 3.1
2005 112.7 5.8
2006 111.5 -1.1
2007 108.7 -2.6
2008 112.3 3.4
2009 97.8 -12.9
2010P 96.6 -1.3

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 2010 (January to January)

Excel | CSV

Since January... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to Jan 2010 Passenger TSI Percent change to Jan 2010 Combined TSI Percent change to Jan 2010
2009 1 -1.3 -0.5 -1.1
2008 2 -14.0 -7.3 -12.4
2007 3 -11.1 -4.9 -9.6
2006 4 -13.4 -1.2 -10.5
2005 5 -14.3 1.2 -10.7
2004 6 -9.4 10.2 -4.7
2003 7 -6.5 13.0 -1.9
2002 8 -1.6 19.6 3.4
2001 9 -2.7 7.7 -0.6
2000 10 -7.5 14.8 -2.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to January 2010 are all preliminary.

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2007-2010
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth 2010 % Growth
January 0.3 -0.2 -0.7 (P) 1.2
February -0.7 -1.0 -0.4  
March 2.0 0.2 -0.9  
April -0.3 1.1 1.4  
May 2.4 -0.5 -1.2  
June -2.1 -0.4 0.5  
July -0.3 -0.2 1.3  
August 1.0 -1.1 0.0  
September 1.4 -0.6 (R) -0.2  
October -0.8 -1.4 (P) -0.1  
November -0.5 -1.8 (P) -1.4  
December 0.9 -0.9 (P) -0.5  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 101.7 6.6
2002 91.5 -10.0
2003 96.9 5.8
2004 99.4 2.6
2005 108.2 8.9
2006 110.8 2.4
2007 115.1 3.9
2008 118.1 2.6
2009 110.0 -6.9
2010P 109.5 -0.5

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, 2007-2010
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth 2010 % Growth
January -0.4 1.7 -2.1 (P) 0.6
February -0.4 -0.9 0.7  
March 1.9 -1.0 -2.9  
April -0.6 0.7 -1.0  
May 0.3 -0.1 -0.4  
June -1.3 -0.7 0.6  
July -0.3 0.6 1.7  
August 0.8 -2.0 0.5  
September -0.4 -1.3 (R) 0.0  
October 1.1 -0.8 (P) -1.7  
November 0.3 -2.1 (P) 1.0  
December 0.2 -2.4 (P) -0.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 100.0 -1.5
2002 96.2 -3.9
2003 101.4 5.4
2004 104.4 3.0
2005 111.3 6.7
2006 111.1 -0.2
2007 110.0 -1.0
2008 113.5 3.2
2009 100.5 -11.5
2010P 99.4 -1.1

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.