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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.0% in September from August

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.0% in September from August

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BTS 52-10
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.0 percent in September from its August level, rising after a one month decline, 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 5.5 percent over the last 16 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 16 months (Table 2). Through the first nine months of 2010, however, the index declined 0.9 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 output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

The September Freight TSI of 98.7 is a 5.5 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 September Freight TSI is down 12.6 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

Although the index rose 2.1 percent from September 2009 to September 2010, it remains below the level of every other September since 2001 when it was 97.5 (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 10.7 percent in the five years from September 2005. The index is down 0.2 percent in the 10 years from September 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 October index is scheduled for Dec. 8.

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 1.0 percent in September from its August level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI September 2010 level of 112.6 was 2.0 percent above the September 2009 level after a 4.4 percent decline from September 2008 to September 2009 (Table 7). The index is up 1.8 percent in five years and up 9.6 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 September from its August level (Table 8). The combined TSI September 2010 level of 101.7 was 2.1 percent higher than the September 2009 level (Table 9). The combined index is down 7.7 percent in five years and up 1.6 percent in 10 years despite recent declines (Table 5). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

3rd Quarter Changes

The Freight TSI rose 0.8 percent in the third quarter, the fourth quarterly increase in the past five quarters (Table 10). The Passenger TSI rose 1.2 percent in the third quarter, rising for the third consecutive quarter (Table 11). The combined TSI rose 0.9 percent in the third quarter, the fourth quarterly increase in the past five quarters (Table 12).

More on TSI

NOTE: TSI numbers for May (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The May Freight TSI is 102.6, revised from the 97.7 reported in last month's release. The May Passenger TSI is 111.8, revised from 111.3. The May Combined TSI is 104.6, revised from 100.7. The TSI for June, July, August and September 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 March 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
March 102.2 1.3 110.8 2.4 104.1 1.6
April 102.8 0.5 111.0 0.2 104.5 0.5
MayR 102.6 -0.2 111.8 0.7 104.6 0.0
JuneP 97.9 -4.6 111.2 -0.5 100.8 -3.6
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
SeptemberP 98.7 1.0 112.6 1.0 101.7 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, 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 0.5
May -0.4 0.0 -0.1 (R) -0.2
June -1.0 -0.8 0.6 (P) -4.6
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 (P) 1.0
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 September

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2001 -0.4 -21.5 -7.0
2002 5.3 2.9 4.6
2003 0.0 0.3 0.1
2004 1.8 3.8 2.4
2005 -0.4 3.7 0.7
2006 -0.1 1.6 0.4
2007 -1.7 3.6 -0.4
2008 -3.3 -2.4 -3.1
2009 -3.7 -0.3 -2.9
2010P -0.9 2.5 -0.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 97.5 -1.4
2002 102.6 5.3
2003 104.5 1.9
2004 109.9 5.2
2005 110.4 0.4
2006 111.1 0.6
2007 107.4 -3.3
2008 106.2 -1.2
2009 96.6 -9.0
2010P 98.7 2.1

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 (September to September)

Excel | CSV

Since September... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to September 2010 Passenger TSI Percent change to September 2010 Combined TSI Percent change to September 2010
2009 1 2.1 2.0 2.1
2008 2 -7.1 -2.5 -6.0
2007 3 -8.2 -5.2 -7.5
2006 4 -11.2 1.3 -8.3
2005 5 -10.7 1.8 -7.7
2004 6 -10.3 7.6 -6.1
2003 7 -5.6 14.7 -0.8
2002 8 -3.8 20.0 1.8
2001 9 1.2 42.3 10.7
2000 10 -0.2 9.6 1.6

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to September 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 0.2
May 2.4 -0.5 -1.2 (R) 0.7
June -2.1 -0.4 0.5 (P) -0.5
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 (P) 1.0
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 September Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 79.1 -22.9
2002 93.8 18.5
2003 98.2 4.7
2004 104.6 6.6
2005 110.6 5.7
2006 111.2 0.5
2007 118.8 6.9
2008 115.4 -2.9
2009 110.4 -4.4
2010P 112.6 2.0

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 0.5
May 0.3 -0.1 -0.4 (R) 0.0
June -1.3 -0.7 0.6 (P) -3.6
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 (P) 1.0
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 September Combined TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 91.9 -8.2
2002 99.9 8.7
2003 102.6 2.7
2004 108.3 5.6
2005 110.3 1.8
2006 110.9 0.6
2007 109.9 -0.9
2008 108.2 -1.6
2009 99.7 -7.9
2010P 101.7 2.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 10: Freight Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2001-2010
Percent change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2001 1.4 -0.5 -1.4 0.0
2002 1.3 2.8 1.1 1.9
2003 -1.4 0.0 1.3 3.3
2004 1.6 0.5 -0.3 0.8
2005 0.8 -0.7 -0.5 0.7
2006 -0.4 1.1 -0.7 -1.6
2007 0.9 -2.0 -0.6 2.2
2008 0.0 -0.3 -3.0 -5.5
2009 -5.0 -1.3 2.7 3.0
2010 2.7 (P) -4.2 (P) 0.8  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 11: Passenger Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2001-2010
Percent change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2001 -0.5 -0.1 -21.1 15.2
2002 2.3 1.1 -0.5 4.4
2003 -4.2 -0.1 4.9 2.6
2004 1.4 1.8 0.5 1.9
2005 2.0 0.2 1.5 -1.1
2006 1.5 -0.2 0.3 3.2
2007 1.5 -0.1 2.1 -0.4
2008 -1.0 0.3 -1.8 -4.0
2009 -2.0 0.6 1.1 -0.5
2010 0.8 (P) 0.4 (P) 1.2  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 12: Combined Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2001-2010
Percent change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2001 0.8 -0.3 -7.5 4.0
2002 1.6 2.3 0.6 2.6
2003 -2.2 0.0 2.3 3.1
2004 1.6 0.8 -0.1 1.1
2005 1.1 -0.5 0.0 0.2
2006 0.1 0.7 -0.5 -0.4
2007 1.0 -1.5 0.1 1.6
2008 -0.3 -0.1 -2.7 -5.2
2009 -4.3 -0.8 2.3 2.1
2010 2.2 (P) -3.1 (P) 0.9  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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.