Transportation Services Index

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February 2019 Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)

Release Number: 
BTS 13-19
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
 

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 0.5 percent in February from January, falling after a one month increase. For the 12 months ending in February 2019, the index rose 3.2 percent compared to 6.7 percent for the previous 12-month period (Table 4).

The level of for-hire freight shipments in February measured by the Freight TSI (136.9) was 1.1 percent below the all-time high level of 138.4 in November 2018 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. See historical .

(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)
MonthFreight TSI
Feb-14117.9
Mar-14119.9
Apr-14120.5
May-14120.9
Jun-14119.7
Jul-14120.4
Aug-14120.9
Sep-14121.9
Oct-14122.5
Nov-14123.3
Dec-14123.2
Jan-15122.9
Feb-15121.6
Mar-15122.5
Apr-15121.4
May-15121.7
Jun-15121.3
Jul-15122.3
Aug-15123.0
Sep-15123.0
Oct-15122.5
Nov-15120.9
Dec-15120.4
Jan-16122.1
Feb-16121.4
Mar-16120.1
Apr-16122.3
May-16121.6
Jun-16122.2
Jul-16125.2
Aug-16122.9
Sep-16121.7
Oct-16122.6
Nov-16123.2
Dec-16124.1
Jan-17123.8
Feb-17124.4
Mar-17124.3
Apr-17124.7
May-17124.9
Jun-17125.2
Jul-17127.6
Aug-17128.3
Sep-17127.6
Oct-17129.2
Nov-17131.2
Dec-17132.4
Jan-18130.4
Feb-18132.7
Mar-18134.5
Apr-18134.5
May-18135.7
Jun-18136.3
Jul-18135.3
Aug-18135.3
Sep-18136.3
Oct-18138.0
Nov-18138.4
Dec-18136.4
Jan-19137.6
Feb-19136.9
Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

The January index was revised to 137.6 from 136.8 in last month’s release. 

The EmEdjimurjE’ Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are 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 TSI is seasonally-adjusted to remove regular seasons from month-to-month comparisons.

Analysis: The February decline in Freight TSI was driven by decreases in rail carloads, rail intermodal, and water, while air freight, pipeline and trucking grew. The TSI decrease took place against a background of weak results for other indicators.  increased by 0.1% in February, with a decrease in manufacturing and increases in mining and utilities.  increased by 0.2%, while housing starts declined by 8.7%. The declined to 54.2, indicating continued but decelerating growth. 

Trend: The Freight TSI has declined 1.1% since reaching an all-time high in November 2018 with two decreases in three months. Despite the declines, the Freight TSI remained above its September 2018 level and the level of all previous months. It has increased in nine of the last 12 months for a total increase of 3.2% over its level of one year ago in February 2018. The February index was 44.4% above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.For additional historical data, go to .

Index highs and lows: For-hire freight shipments in February 2019 (136.9) were 44.4 percent higher than the low in April 2009 during the recession (94.8). The February 2019 level was 1.1 percent below the historic peak reached in November 2018 (138.4) (Table 1A).

Year to date: For-hire freight shipments measured by the index were up 0.4 percent in February compared to the end of 2018 (Table 3).

Long-term trend: For-hire freight shipments are up 16.1 percent in the five years from February 2014 and are up 35.5 percent in the 10 years from February 2009 (Table 5). 

Same month of previous year: February 2019 for-hire freight shipments were up 3.2 percent from February 2018 (Tables 4, 5).

The TSI has three seasonally-adjusted indexes that measure changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. The three indexes are freight shipments, passenger travel and a combined measure that merges the freight and passenger indexes. See for numbers for individual modes. TSI includes data from 2000 to the present. Release of the March 2019 index is scheduled for May 8.

Passenger Index: The TSI for passengers rose 0.5 percent in February from its January level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI February 2019 level of 130.4 was 1.2 percent above the February 2018 level (Table 7). The index is up 10.2 percent in five years and up 18.0 percent in 10 years (Table 5). The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in travel that involves the services of the for-hire passenger transportation sector. The seasonally-adjusted index consists of data from air, local transit and intercity rail.

Combined Index: The combined freight and passenger TSI fell 0.1 percent in February from its January level (Table 8). The combined TSI February 2019 level of 134.8 was 2.5 percent above the February 2018 level (Table 9). The combined index is up 14.1 percent in five years and up 29.7 percent in 10 years (Table 5). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

Revisions: Monthly data has changed from previous releases due to the use of concurrent seasonal analysis, which results in seasonal analysis factors changing as each month’s data are added.    

BTS research has shown a clear relationship between economic cycles and the Freight and Passenger Transportation Services Indexes. See a study of this relationship using smoothed and detrended TSI data. Researchers who wish to compare TSI over time with other economic indicators, can use the , which includes freight, passenger and combined TSI, and which makes it possible to easily graph TSI alongside the other series in that database. See .   

A BTS report explaining the TSI, Transportation Services Index and the Economy, is available for download.

Percent Change from Previous Month, (Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)
FreightPassengerCombined
IndexPct. Change IndexPct. Change IndexPct. Change
August135.30.0130.9-0.4133.9-0.1
September136.30.7127.9-2.3133.6-0.2
October138.01.2131.02.4135.71.6
November138.40.3130.9-0.1136.00.2
December136.4-1.4130.3-0.5134.4-1.2
January137.60.9129.7-0.5135.00.4
February136.9-0.5130.40.5134.8-0.1
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

YearMonthPeakMonthBottom
2009December101.6April94.8
2015August123.0July120.4
2016July125.2March120.1
2017December132.4January123.8
2018November138.4January130.4
2019(thru February)January137.6February136.9
Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Percent change from previous month
2016201720182019
% Change% Change% Change% Change
January1.4-0.2-1.50.9
February-0.60.51.8-0.5
March-1.1-0.11.4
April1.80.30.0
May-0.60.20.9
June0.50.20.4
July2.51.9-0.7
August-1.80.50.0
September-1.0-0.50.7
October0.71.31.2
November0.51.50.3
December0.70.9-1.4
Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

2016201720182019
January122.1123.8130.4137.6
February121.4124.4132.7136.9
March120.1124.3134.5
April122.3124.7134.5
May121.6124.9135.7
June122.2125.2136.3
July125.2127.6135.3
August122.9128.3135.3
September121.7127.6136.3
October122.6129.2138.0
November123.2131.2138.4
December124.1132.4136.4
Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Percent change to February from December of the previous year
YearFreightPassengerCombined
20103.7-2.21.9
20110.8-0.70.4
2012-2.71.6-1.4
20133.21.52.6
20140.20.50.3
2015-1.3-0.9-1.1
20160.81.00.9
20170.2-0.40.0
20180.20.90.5
20190.40.10.3
Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Percent change in the February Freight TSI, (Monthly average of 2000 = 100)
February Freight TSIPercent change from same month previous year
2010105.44.4
2011109.64.0
2012111.92.1
2013115.93.6
2014117.91.7
2015121.63.1
2016121.4-0.2
2017124.42.5
2018132.76.7
2019136.93.2
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Percent Change to 2019 (February to February)
Since February . . .Duration in yearsFreight TSI Percent change to February 2019Passenger TSI Percent change to February 2019Combined TSI Percent change to February 2019
201813.21.22.5
2017210.04.38.2
2016312.83.79.7
2015412.69.011.3
2014516.110.214.1
2013618.110.915.8
2012722.310.918.6
2011824.916.122.0
2010929.920.726.9
20091035.518.029.7
Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Percent change from previous month
2016201720182019
% Change% Change% Change% Change
January-0.30.9-0.2-0.5
February1.4-1.31.00.5
March-2.50.5-0.1
April1.11.00.7
May0.2-0.30.7
June0.60.30.8
July-0.50.2-0.1
August-1.0-0.2-0.4
September1.9-2.3-2.3
October-1.52.92.4
November0.90.5-0.1
December0.6-0.4-0.5
Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Percent change in the February Passenger TSI, (Monthly average of 2000 = 100)
February Passenger TSIPercent change from same month previous year
2010108.0-2.3
2011112.34.0
2012117.64.7
2013117.60.0
2014118.30.6
2015119.61.1
2016125.85.2
2017125.0-0.6
2018128.83.0
2019130.41.2
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Percent change from previous month
2016201720182019
% Change% Change% Change% Change
January0.80.2-1.10.4
February0.1-0.21.5-0.1
March-1.50.20.8
April1.70.60.2
May-0.30.00.8
June0.50.20.5
July1.51.4-0.5
August-1.50.2-0.1
September-0.1-1.1-0.2
October0.01.81.6
November0.71.20.2
December0.60.5-1.2
Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Percent change in the February Combined TSI, (Monthly average of 2000 = 100)
February Combined TSIPercent change from same month previous year
2010106.22.2
2011110.54.0
2012113.72.9
2013116.42.4
2014118.11.5
2015121.12.5
2016122.91.5
2017124.61.4
2018131.55.5
2019134.82.5
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

EmEdjimurjE

Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2019