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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 0.6% in August from July

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 0.6% in August from July

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BTS 47-10
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, October 14, 2010 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 0.6 percent in August from its July level, falling after two monthly increases, 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 has risen 4.4 percent over the last 15 months, starting in June 2009, after declining 15.3 percent in the previous 10 months beginning in August 2008. The index has increased in 12 of the last 15 months (Table 2). Through the first eight months of 2010, however, the index declined 1.9 percent (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 utput of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

The August Freight TSI of 97.6 is a 4.4 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 August Freight TSI is down 13.5 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

Although the index rose 1.2 percent from August 2009 to August 2010, it remains below the level of every other August since 1997 when it was 94.8 (Table 4). January 2010 was the first month since July 2008 in which the Freight TSI exceeded the level of the same month of the previous year. The index has exceeded the previous year's level every month since January but still remains below the level of recent earlier years.

The freight index is down 12.7 percent in the five years from August 2005. The index is down 3.1 percent in the 10 years from August 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 September index is scheduled for Nov. 10.

For a video explanation of the TSI, see Overview of the Transportation Services Index. A BTS report explaining the TSI, Transportation Services Index and the Economy, is available for download.

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers rose 0.2 percent in August from its July level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI August 2010 level of 111.5 was 0.8 percent above the August 2009 level after a 4.7 percent decline from August 2008 to August 2009 (Table 7). The index is up 2.5 percent in five years and up 11.1 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 0.4 percent in August from its July level (Table 8). The combined TSI August 2010 level of 100.7 was 1.1 percent higher than the August 2009 level (Table 9). The combined index is down 9.1 percent in five years, but is unchanged 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 April (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The April Freight TSI is 102.8, revised from the 98.1 reported in last month's release. The April Passenger TSI is 111.0, revised from 109.3. The April Combined TSI is 104.5, revised from 100.6. The TSI for, May, June, July and August 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 2009 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 February 2010
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
February 100.9 0.5 108.2 -2.3 102.4 -0.2
March 102.2 1.3 110.8 2.4 104.1 1.6
AprilR 102.8 0.5 111.0 0.2 104.5 0.5
MayP 97.7 -5.0 111.3 0.2 100.7 -3.7
JuneP 97.9 0.2 111.2 -0.1 100.8 0.2
JulyP 98.2 0.4 111.2 0.0 101.1 0.3
AugustP 97.6 -0.6 111.5 0.2 100.7 -0.4

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 0.9
February -0.3 -0.9 1.0 0.5
March 1.9 -1.4 -3.6 1.3
April -0.7 0.6 -1.8 (R) 0.5
May -0.4 0.0 -0.1 (P) -5.0
June -1.0 -0.8 0.6 (P) 0.2
July -0.3 0.8 1.9 (P) 0.4
August 0.7 -2.2 0.7 (P) -0.6
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 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 August

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2001 2.4 2.3 2.4
2002 5.3 4.5 5.1
2003 -1.1 -1.0 -1.1
2004 1.4 4.1 2.2
2005 0.8 2.0 1.1
2006 -2.5 0.5 -1.7
2007 -0.8 2.2 0.0
2008 -1.8 -1.9 -1.8
2009 -3.8 -0.1 -2.9
2010P -1.9 1.5 -1.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 100.2 -0.6
2002 102.6 2.4
2003 103.4 0.8
2004 109.6 6.0
2005 111.8 2.0
2006 108.4 -3.0
2007 108.5 0.1
2008 107.9 -0.6
2009 96.5 -10.6
2010P 97.6 1.2

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 (August to August)

Excel | CSV

Since August... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to August 2010 Passenger TSI Percent change to August 2010 Combined TSI Percent change to August 2010
2009 1 1.2 0.8 1.1
2008 2 -9.5 -3.9 -8.2
2007 3 -10.0 -4.9 -8.8
2006 4 -10.0 1.4 -7.3
2005 5 -12.7 2.5 -9.1
2004 6 -10.9 6.3 -6.9
2003 7 -5.6 15.0 -0.7
2002 8 -4.9 17.0 0.3
2001 9 -2.6 8.1 -0.5
2000 10 -3.1 11.1 0.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to August 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 0.8
February -0.7 -1.0 -0.4 -2.3
March 2.0 0.2 -0.9 2.4
April -0.3 1.1 1.4 (R) 0.2
May 2.4 -0.5 -1.2 (P) 0.2
June -2.1 -0.4 0.5 (P) -0.1
July -0.3 -0.2 1.3 (P) 0.0
August 1.0 -1.1 0.0 (P) 0.2
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 -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 August Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 103.2 2.8
2002 95.3 -7.6
2003 96.9 1.7
2004 104.9 8.2
2005 108.8 3.7
2006 110.0 1.1
2007 117.2 6.6
2008 116.1 -1.0
2009 110.6 -4.7
2010P 111.5 0.8

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 0.8
February -0.4 -0.9 0.7 -0.2
March 1.9 -1.0 -2.9 1.6
April -0.6 0.7 -1.0 (R) 0.5
May 0.3 -0.1 -0.4 (P) -3.7
June -1.3 -0.7 0.6 (P) 0.2
July -0.3 0.6 1.7 (P) 0.3
August 0.8 -2.0 0.5 (P) -0.4
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 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 August Combined TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 101.2 0.5
2002 100.4 -0.7
2003 101.4 1.0
2004 108.1 6.6
2005 110.8 2.5
2006 108.6 -2.0
2007 110.4 1.7
2008 109.6 -0.7
2009 99.6 -9.1
2010P 100.7 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.