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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.9% in January from December

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.9% in January from December

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BTS 13-11
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.9 percent in January from a revised December level, rising for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that this release includes a comprehensive, biannual revision that resulted in changes to monthly numbers released previously. The comprehensive revision produced upward revisions in monthly Freight TSI numbers for September through December 2010. See the revision section below.

The revised Freight TSI rose 14.6 percent over the last 21 months, starting in May 2009, after declining 16.8 percent in the previous 16 months beginning in January 2008. The index has increased in 16 of the last 21 months (Table 2). In January 2011, the freight index returned to 108.1, the same level as in August 2008 when the index was early in the decline. For additional historic data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml

The Freight TSI rose 6.4 percent in 2010 based on revised numbers, compared to the 0.4 percent annual increase reported in the February release. The 6.4 percent rise was the largest annual increase in the Freight TSI since 2002 (Table 4a).

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 January Freight TSI of 108.1 is a 14.6 percent increase from the recent low of 94.3 reached in April 2009. In April 2009, the index was at its lowest level since July 1997. The January Freight TSI is down 4.6 percent from its historic peak of 113.3 reached in January 2005.

Although the index rose 6.9 percent from January 2010 to January 2011, it remains below the level of 111.8, a recent high for the month of January reached in 2008 (Table 4). December 2009 was the first month since September 2008 in which the Freight TSI exceeded the level of the same month of the previous year. Since then, the index has exceeded the previous years level every month but still remains below the level of years before the most recent year.

The freight index is down 3.0 percent in the five years from revised January 2006. The index is up 8.9 percent in the 10 years from revised January 2001 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 February index is scheduled for April 13.

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 January from its revised December level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI January 2011 level of 113.9 was 3.0 percent above the revised January 2010 level (Table 7). The index is up 3.1 percent in five years and up 14.1 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 rose 0.9 percent in January from its revised December level (Table 8). The combined TSI January 2011 level of 109.6 was 5.8 percent higher than the revised January 2010 level (Table 9). The combined index is down 1.4 percent in five years and up 10.2 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 revised Freight TSI rose 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, the sixth consecutive quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2009 (Table 10). The revised Passenger TSI fell 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, declining for the first time since the first quarter of 2009 (Table 11). The revised combined TSI rose 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, the sixth consecutive quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2009 (Table 12).

More on TSI

In this month's release, BTS conducted its fourth comprehensive revision to the TSI in which all index numbers through January 2011 were revised to reflect revisions to the source data and changes in the estimated seasonal factors and the method for calculating aggregation weights. More information about the comprehensive revision and its effects on index numbers is provided under 2011 Comprehensive Revision at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

The TSI for October, November and December 2010 and January 2011 are preliminary and subject to revision because of revisions in output data of component transportation services.

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

TSI Revisions September-December 2010

Revisions from Feb. 9, 2011 release due to BTS biannual comprehensive revision

Excel | CSV

  Previous Revised
Freight Index    
September 98.7 105.0
October* 98.9 105.2
November* 98.5 104.4
December* 100.0 107.1
2010 annual change from 2009* 0.4 6.4
4Q quarterly change from 3Q* 1.3 2.1
Passenger Index    
September 112.6 113.7
October* 113.8 114.9
November* 114.8 113.8
December* 114.4 112.8
2010 annual change from 2009* 4.1 2.6
4Q quarterly change from 3Q* 1.6 -0.8
Combined Index    
September 101.7 107.3
October* 102.2 107.7
November* 102.1 106.8
December* 103.2 108.6
2010 annual change from 2009* 1.3 5.3
4Q quarterly change from 3Q* 1.4 1.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Preliminary data subject to additional monthly revisions

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes since July 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
July 104.3 0.3 112.4 -0.2 106.4 0.1
August 103.9 -0.4 112.6 0.2 106.2 -0.2
SeptemberR 105.0 1.1 113.7 1.0 107.3 1.0
OctoberP 105.2 0.2 114.9 1.0 107.7 0.4
NovemberP 104.4 -0.8 113.8 -1.0 106.8 -0.8
DecemberP 107.1 2.7 112.8 -0.8 108.6 1.7
JanuaryP 108.1 0.9 113.9 1.0 109.6 0.9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

Table 2: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2008-2011
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth 2010 % Growth 2011 % Growth
January 1.8 -2.4 0.5 (P) 0.9
February -0.2 2.8 1.1  
March -1.7 -4.0 1.2  
April 0.6 -1.6 0.1  
May -0.1 0.3 0.5  
June -0.4 1.0 -0.1  
July 0.2 1.6 0.3  
August -1.7 1.5 -0.4  
September -1.0 -0.5 (R) 1.1  
October -1.1 -0.7 (P) 0.2  
November -2.5 2.9 (P) -0.8  
December -3.6 0.6 (P) 2.7  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 2002-2011
Percent change from December of previous year
December to January

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2002 1.0 1.7 1.2
2003 -1.1 -0.7 -1.0
2004 -0.1 -0.8 -0.3
2005 2.8 1.2 2.3
2006 0.0 1.3 0.4
2007 -1.3 0.0 -0.9
2008 1.8 -0.2 1.2
2009 -2.4 -1.0 -2.0
2010 0.5 0.6 0.5
2011P 0.9 1.0 0.9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 98.8 -0.5
2003 103.2 4.5
2004 107.3 4.0
2005 113.3 5.6
2006 111.5 -1.6
2007 108.4 -2.8
2008 111.8 3.2
2009 97.1 -13.2
2010 101.1 4.2
2011P 108.1 6.9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

Table 4a: Revised Freight Transportation Services Index 2001-2010
Percent change in the December Freight TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2001 97.8 -0.8
2002 104.4 6.7
2003 107.4 2.9
2004 110.2 2.6
2005 111.4 1.1
2006 109.8 -1.5
2007 109.9 0.1
2008 99.4 -9.5
2009 100.7 1.3
2010 107.1 6.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 5: Transportation Services Indexes from Previous Years
Percent Change to 2011 (January to January)

Excel | CSV

Since January... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to January 2011 Passenger TSI Percent change to January 2011 Combined TSI Percent change to January 2011
2010 1 6.9 3.0 5.8
2009 2 11.4 3.9 9.2
2008 3 -3.3 -2.5 -3.2
2007 4 -0.3 -0.3 -0.3
2006 5 -3.0 3.1 -1.4
2005 6 -4.6 5.8 -1.8
2004 7 0.7 14.4 4.4
2003 8 4.7 17.7 8.3
2002 9 9.4 24.7 13.6
2001 10 8.9 14.1 10.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to January 2011 are all preliminary.

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2008-2011
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth 2010 % Growth 2011 % Growth
January -0.2 -1.0 0.6 (P) 1.0
February 1.4 0.5 -2.1  
March -1.3 -1.4 2.3  
April 0.0 1.4 0.2  
May 0.6 -1.7 0.6  
June -0.9 0.5 0.8  
July -0.1 1.5 -0.2  
August -1.3 -0.1 0.2  
September -1.4 -0.6 (R) 1.0  
October -0.8 0.1 (P) 1.0  
November -1.7 -0.1 (P) -1.0  
December 0.1 0.2 (P) -0.8  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 91.4 -8.5
2003 96.8 5.9
2004 99.6 2.9
2005 107.7 8.2
2006 110.5 2.6
2007 114.2 3.4
2008 116.9 2.3
2009 109.7 -6.2
2010 110.6 0.9
2011P 113.9 3.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

Table 8: Combined Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2008-2011
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth 2010 % Growth 2011 % Growth
January 1.2 -2.0 0.5 (P) 0.9
February 0.2 2.2 0.2  
March -1.6 -3.3 1.5  
April 0.4 -0.8 0.1  
May 0.1 -0.3 0.5  
June -0.6 0.9 0.1  
July 0.1 1.6 0.1  
August -1.6 1.1 -0.2  
September -1.1 -0.5 (R) 1.0  
October -1.0 -0.5 (P) 0.4  
November -2.3 2.1 (P) -0.8  
December -2.6 0.5 (P) 1.7  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

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

Excel | CSV

  Combined TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 96.5 -3.0
2003 101.3 4.9
2004 105.0 3.7
2005 111.6 6.3
2006 111.1 -0.4
2007 109.9 -1.1
2008 113.2 3.0
2009 100.4 -11.3
2010 103.6 3.3
2011P 109.6 5.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

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 0.7 -0.7 -0.6 -0.2
2002 0.9 3.0 1.0 1.8
2003 -0.9 -1.0 1.8 3.0
2004 1.9 0.5 -0.4 0.6
2005 1.4 -0.6 -0.3 0.7
2006 -0.5 0.9 -0.6 -1.3
2007 0.9 -2.2 -0.2 1.6
2008 -0.2 0.1 -2.5 -7.0
2009 -3.6 -0.4 2.6 2.8
2010 2.9 0.5 (P) 0.9 (P) 2.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

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 2.4 0.7 -21.0 11.8
2002 3.8 1.6 -1.0 3.9
2003 -4.0 0.1 4.5 2.5
2004 1.8 2.1 -0.9 2.9
2005 1.9 0.5 0.9 -0.9
2006 2.0 0.1 -0.8 3.3
2007 2.1 0.4 0.7 -0.6
2008 -0.1 -0.3 -2.7 -2.3
2009 -1.9 0.1 0.8 0.3
2010 0.7 1.6 (P) 1.0 (P) -0.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

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 1.2 -0.2 -6.9 2.9
2002 1.7 2.6 0.4 2.4
2003 -1.7 -0.7 2.6 2.9
2004 1.8 1.0 -0.5 1.2
2005 1.5 -0.2 0.0 0.2
2006 0.2 0.7 -0.7 0.0
2007 1.3 -1.5 0.0 1.0
2008 -0.2 0.0 -2.6 -5.8
2009 -3.1 -0.2 2.1 2.1
2010 2.3 0.8 (P) 0.9 (P) 1.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: All numbers are revised from the previous release due to the comprehensive revision. Preliminary

data are subject to additional monthly revisions.

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.