Wednesday, December 8, 2010 – The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.2 percent in October from its September level, rising for the second consecutive month, 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 5.7 percent over the last 17 months, starting in June 2009, after declining 15.3 percent in the previous 10 months beginning in August 2008.


The index has increased in 13 of the last 17 months (Table 2).  Through the first 10 months of 2010, however, the index declined 0.7 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 October Freight TSI of 98.9 is a 5.7 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 October Freight TSI is down 12.4 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

Although the index rose 3.2 percent from October 2009 to October 2010, it remains below the level of every other October since 2001 when it was 98.7 (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 10.1 percent in the five years from October 2005 and up 0.1 percent in the 10 years from October 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 November index is scheduled for Jan. 12.


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.

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