You are here

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.5% in December from November

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 1.5% in December from November

PDF

BTS 08-11
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.5 percent in December from its November level, rising after one monthly 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 rose 6.9 percent over the last 19 months, starting in June 2009, after declining 15.3 percent in the previous 10 months beginning in August 2008. The index has increased in 14 of the last 19 months (Table 2). In 2010, the index increased 0.4 percent (Table 3). With next month's release, BTS will conduct a comprehensive revision, delayed one month from the previously announced revision. The revision will result in changes to the 2010 numbers, especially for those months that have not undergone the monthly revision and are currently classified as preliminary. 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 December Freight TSI of 100.0 is a 6.9 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 December Freight TSI is down 11.4 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

Although the index rose 0.4 percent from December 2009 to December 2010, it remains below the level of every other December since 2001 when it was 97.4 (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 years before the most recent year.

The freight index is down 10.1 percent in the five years from December 2005. The index is up 2.1 percent in the 10 years from December 2000 despite recent declines (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 January index is scheduled for March 9.

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 fell 0.4 percent in December from its November level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI December 2010 level of 114.4 was 4.1 percent above the December 2009 level after a 0.8 percent decline from December 2008 to December 2009 (Table 7). The index is up 4.6 percent in five years and up 13.4 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 1.0 percent in December from its November level (Table 8). The combined TSI December 2010 level of 103.2 was 1.3 percent higher than the December 2009 level (Table 9). The combined index is down 6.6 percent in five years and up 4.4 percent in 10 years despite recent declines (Table 5). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

4th Quarter Changes

The Freight TSI rose 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter, the fifth quarterly increase in the past six quarters (Table 10). The Passenger TSI rose 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter, rising in three of the last four quarters (Table 11). The combined TSI rose 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the fifth quarterly increase in the past six quarters (Table 12).

More on TSI

NOTE: TSI numbers for August (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The August Freight TSI is 102.5, revised from the 97.6 reported in last month's release. The August Passenger TSI is 112.8, revised from 111.5. The August Combined TSI is 104.8, revised from 100.7. The TSI for September, October, November and December 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 June 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
June 102.7 0.1 112.7 0.8 104.9 0.3
July 103.1 0.4 112.8 0.0 105.2 0.3
AugustR 102.5 -0.5 112.8 0.1 104.8 -0.4
SeptemberP 98.7 -3.8 112.6 -0.2 101.7 -2.9
OctoberP 98.9 0.2 113.8 1.1 102.2 0.4
NovemberP 98.5 -0.3 114.8 0.9 102.1 0.0
DecemberP 100.0 1.5 114.4 -0.4 103.2 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 -0.2
June -1.0 -0.8 0.6 0.1
July -0.3 0.8 1.9 0.4
August 0.7 -2.2 0.7 (R) -0.5
September -1.0 -1.6 0.1 (P) -3.8
October 1.7 -0.6 -0.9 (P) 0.2
November 0.6 -2.2 2.8 (P) -0.3
December -0.1 -2.8 1.2 (P) 1.5

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 December

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2001 -0.5 -9.6 -3.3
2002 7.3 7.4 7.3
2003 3.3 2.9 3.2
2004 2.6 5.9 3.5
2005 0.3 2.5 0.9
2006 -1.7 4.9 -0.1
2007 0.5 3.1 1.1
2008 -8.7 -6.4 -8.1
2009 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8
2010P 0.4 4.1 1.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 97.4 -0.5
2002 104.6 7.3
2003 108.0 3.3
2004 110.9 2.6
2005 111.2 0.3
2006 109.3 -1.7
2007 109.8 0.5
2008 100.3 -8.7
2009 99.5 -0.8
2010P 100.0 0.4

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 (December to December)

Excel | CSV

Since December... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to December 2010 Passenger TSI Percent change to December 2010 Combined TSI Percent change to December 2010
2009 1 0.4 4.1 1.3
2008 2 -0.4 3.3 0.5
2007 3 -9.0 -3.3 -7.6
2006 4 -8.6 -0.3 -6.6
2005 5 -10.1 4.6 -6.6
2004 6 -9.8 7.2 -5.8
2003 7 -7.4 13.5 -2.5
2002 8 -4.4 16.8 0.6
2001 9 2.6 25.4 8.0
2000 10 2.1 13.4 4.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to December 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 0.7
June -2.1 -0.4 0.5 0.8
July -0.3 -0.2 1.3 0.0
August 1.0 -1.1 0.0 (R) 0.1
September 1.4 -0.6 -0.2 (P) -0.2
October -0.8 -1.4 0.2 (P) 1.1
November -0.5 -1.8 -0.5 (P) 0.9
December 0.9 -0.9 -0.1 (P) -0.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 91.2 -9.6
2002 97.9 7.4
2003 100.8 2.9
2004 106.7 5.9
2005 109.4 2.5
2006 114.7 4.9
2007 118.3 3.1
2008 110.8 -6.4
2009 109.9 -0.8
2010P 114.4 4.1

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 0.0
June -1.3 -0.7 0.6 0.3
July -0.3 0.6 1.7 0.3
August 0.8 -2.0 0.5 (R) -0.4
September -0.4 -1.3 0.0 (P) -2.9
October 1.1 -0.8 -0.6 (P) 0.4
November 0.3 -2.1 1.9 (P) 0.0
December 0.2 -2.4 0.8 (P) 1.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 95.5 -3.3
2002 102.5 7.3
2003 105.8 3.2
2004 109.5 3.5
2005 110.5 0.9
2006 110.4 -0.1
2007 111.6 1.1
2008 102.6 -8.1
2009 101.8 -0.8
2010P 103.2 1.3

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 0.4 (P) -3.9 (P) 1.3

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 1.7 (P) -0.1 (P) 1.6

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 0.8 (P) -3.0 (P) 1.4

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.