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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.3% in February from January

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.3% in February from January

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BTS 17-10
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.3 percent in February from its January level, rising for the second consecutive month, 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 index has risen 3.6 percent over the last nine months, starting in June, after declining 15.3 percent in the previous 10 months beginning in August 2008. The index has increased in seven of the last nine months (Table 2). The index started 2010 with an increase of 0.7 percent in the first two months (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 February Freight TSI of 96.9 is a 3.6 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May 2009. In May, the index was at its lowest level since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 14.1 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

The February Freight TSI of 96.9 is the lowest for February since February 1997 when it was 91.3. With a 2.0 percent decline from February 2009 to February 2010 following an 11.2 percent decline from February 2008 to February 2009, the index has declined 12.9 percent in two years (Table 4).

The freight index is down 13.3 percent in the five years from February 2005. The index is down 6.8 percent in the 10 years from February 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 March index is scheduled for May 12.

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 fell 1.5 percent in February from its January level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI February 2010 level of 107.8 was 1.6 percent below the February 2009 level, for the second consecutive February-to-February decrease, and marking the first consecutive February-to-February decreases in the 20-year history of the TSI (Table 7). The index is down 0.6 percent in five years, but despite recent declines, is up 11.2 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 fell 0.1 percent in February from its January level (Table 8). The combined TSI February 2010 level of 99.3 was 1.8 percent lower than the February 2009 level, leaving the index at its lowest February level since 2002 (Table 9). The combined index is down 10.3 percent in five years and down 2.3 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 95.8, revised from the 94.5 reported in last month's release. The October Passenger TSI is 110.6, revised from 110.3. The October Combined TSI is 99.0, revised from 98.0. 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, 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 August 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
August 96.5 0.7 110.6 0.0 99.6 0.5
September 96.6 0.1 110.4 -0.2 99.7 0.0
OctoberR 95.8 -0.9 110.6 0.2 99.0 -0.6
NovemberP 96.2 0.5 108.8 -1.7 99.0 -0.1
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
FebruaryP 96.9 0.3 107.8 -1.5 99.3 -0.1

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 (P) 0.3
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 0.1  
October 1.7 -0.6 (R) -0.9  
November 0.6 -2.2 (P) 0.5  
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 February

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2001 0.8 -0.1 0.5
2002 1.7 2.2 1.8
2003 -2.2 -2.9 -2.4
2004 1.2 0.7 1.1
2005 0.9 1.7 1.1
2006 -1.1 1.3 -0.5
2007 -1.0 -0.4 -0.8
2008 1.3 -1.2 0.7
2009 -1.5 -1.1 -1.4
2010P 0.7 -0.4 0.5

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
2001 98.6 -5.1
2002 99.1 0.5
2003 102.3 3.2
2004 109.3 6.9
2005 111.8 2.3
2006 110.0 -1.6
2007 108.3 -1.6
2008 111.3 2.8
2009 98.9 -11.2
2010P 96.9 -2.0

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 (February to February)

Excel | CSV

Since February... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to Feb 2010 Passenger TSI Percent change to Feb 2010 Combined TSI Percent change to Feb 2010
2009 1 -2.0 -1.6 -1.8
2008 2 -12.9 -7.8 -11.7
2007 3 -10.5 -5.6 -9.3
2006 4 -11.9 -2.6 -9.7
2005 5 -13.3 -0.6 -10.3
2004 6 -11.3 6.3 -7.1
2003 7 -5.3 13.4 -0.8
2002 8 -2.2 15.7 2.1
2001 9 -1.7 7.0 0.0
2000 10 -6.8 11.2 -2.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to February 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 (P) -1.5
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 -0.2  
October -0.8 -1.4 (R) 0.2  
November -0.5 -1.8 (P) -1.7  
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 February Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 100.7 3.9
2002 93.2 -7.5
2003 95.1 2.0
2004 101.4 6.7
2005 108.5 7.0
2006 110.7 2.1
2007 114.2 3.2
2008 116.9 2.3
2009 109.5 -6.3
2010P 107.8 -1.6

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 (P) -0.1
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 0.0  
October 1.1 -0.8 (R) -0.6  
November 0.3 -2.1 (P) -0.1  
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 February Combined TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 99.3 -2.4
2002 97.3 -2.0
2003 100.1 2.9
2004 106.9 6.8
2005 110.7 3.6
2006 110.0 -0.7
2007 109.5 -0.4
2008 112.4 2.7
2009 101.2 -10.0
2010P 99.3 -1.8

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.