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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.3% in April from March

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.3% in April from March

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BTS 28-10
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.3 percent in April from its March level, rising for the third 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 4.9 percent over the last 11 months, starting in June 2009, after declining 15.3 percent in the previous 10 months beginning in August 2008. The index has increased in nine of the last 11 months (Table 2). The index started 2010 with a decrease of 1.4 percent in the first four 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 April Freight TSI of 98.1 is a 4.9 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May 2009. In May 2009, the index was at its lowest level since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 13.1 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

Although the index rose 4.8 percent from April 2009 to April 2010, it still remains below the April level of all the previous years since 2000 when it was 98.0. In April 2009, following a 15.3 percent decline from April 2008, the Freight TSI was at its lowest level for April since April 1997 when it was 92.5 (Table 4). March 2010 was the first month since July 2008 in which the Freight TSI exceeded the level of the previous year.

The freight index is down 12.1 percent in the five years from April 2005. The index is virtually unchanged in the 10 years from April 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 May index is scheduled for July 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 fell 0.2 percent in April from its March level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI April 2010 level of 109.3 was 0.7 percent below the April 2009 level, for the second consecutive April-to-April decline. The 7.1 percent decrease from April 2008 to April 2009 was the largest April-to-April decrease since 2002 (Table 7). The index is up 0.9 percent in five years and up 10.4 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 0.2 percent in April from its March level (Table 8). The combined TSI April 2010 level of 100.6 was 3.4 percent higher than the April 2009 level (Table 9). The combined index is down 9.0 percent in five years, but is up 2.2 percent in 10 years despite recent declines (Table 5). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

More on TSI

NOTE: TSI numbers for December (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The December Freight TSI is 99.5, revised from the 96.2 reported in last month's release. The December Passenger TSI is 109.9, revised from 108.2. The December Combined TSI is 101.8, revised from 98.8. The TSI for January, February, March and April 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 October 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
October 95.8 -0.9 110.6 0.2 99.0 -0.6
November 98.4 2.8 110.1 -0.5 101.0 1.9
DecemberR 99.5 1.2 109.9 -0.1 101.8 0.8
JanuaryP 96.6 -3.0 109.5 -0.4 99.4 -2.3
FebruaryP 96.9 0.3 107.8 -1.5 99.3 -0.1
MarchP 97.8 0.9 109.5 1.6 100.4 1.1
AprilP 98.1 0.3 109.3 -0.2 100.6 0.2

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) -3.0
February -0.3 -0.9 1.0 (P) 0.3
March 1.9 -1.4 -3.6 (P) 0.9
April -0.7 0.6 -1.8 (P) 0.3
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 -0.9  
November 0.6 -2.2 2.8  
December -0.1 -2.8 (R) 1.2  

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 April

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2001 0.8 0.0 0.5
2002 2.0 2.2 2.1
2003 -0.8 -7.0 -2.5
2004 2.2 2.2 2.2
2005 0.7 1.6 0.9
2006 -0.8 2.0 -0.1
2007 0.2 1.2 0.5
2008 0.6 0.2 0.5
2009 -6.7 -0.7 -5.2
2010P -1.4 -0.5 -1.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 98.6 0.6
2002 99.4 0.8
2003 103.7 4.4
2004 110.4 6.4
2005 111.6 1.1
2006 110.4 -1.1
2007 109.6 -0.7
2008 110.4 0.8
2009 93.6 -15.3
2010P 98.1 4.8

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 2010 (April to April)

Excel | CSV

Since April... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to Apr 2010 Passenger TSI Percent change to Apr 2010 Combined TSI Percent change to Apr 2010
2009 1 4.8 -0.7 3.4
2008 2 -11.2 -7.7 -10.3
2007 3 -10.5 -5.8 -9.3
2006 4 -11.1 -2.0 -8.9
2005 5 -12.1 0.9 -9.0
2004 6 -11.2 6.2 -7.0
2003 7 -5.4 20.1 0.6
2002 8 -1.3 17.3 3.1
2001 9 -0.5 8.4 1.2
2000 10 0.0 10.4 2.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to April 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) -0.4
February -0.7 -1.0 -0.4 (P) -1.5
March 2.0 0.2 -0.9 (P) 1.6
April -0.3 1.1 1.4 (P) -0.2
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 0.2  
November -0.5 -1.8 -0.5  
December 0.9 -0.9 (R) -0.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 100.9 1.8
2002 93.2 -7.6
2003 91.0 -2.4
2004 103.0 13.1
2005 108.4 5.3
2006 111.6 3.0
2007 116.1 4.1
2008 118.5 2.1
2009 110.0 -7.1
2010P 109.3 -0.7

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, 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) -2.3
February -0.4 -0.9 0.7 (P) -0.1
March 1.9 -1.0 -2.9 (P) 1.1
April -0.6 0.7 -1.0 (P) 0.2
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 -0.6  
November 0.3 -2.1 1.9  
December 0.2 -2.4 (R) 0.8  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 99.4 1.0
2002 97.5 -1.9
2003 99.9 2.5
2004 108.1 8.2
2005 110.6 2.2
2006 110.4 -0.1
2007 110.9 0.5
2008 112.2 1.1
2009 97.2 -13.3
2010P 100.6 3.4

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.