Department of Transportation
Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta last week released
the new Transportation Services Index (TSI) noting that the
measure shows U.S. transportation output at an historic high.
The results in the new monthly measure are assumed to serve
as a leading indicator of future growth for the economy.
The new data show that the TSI increased by one percent from
November to December of 2003 to reach an all-time peak of
118.5. TSI tracks changes from 1996, meaning that transportation
services in December rose 18.5 percent from 1996. Decembers
increase was the fourth consecutive increase in the new monthly
Todays results give us a clear indication of how
much the strength of the transportation sector mirrors the
strength of our economy, said Mineta. If you look
at the data, every time the TSI heats up, the economy follows.
The Transportation Services Index is a new monthly economic
indicator intended to measure the performance of the economy
as reflected in the movement of freight and passengers. Analysts
from the Departments Bureau of Transportation Statistics
(BTS) weight and seasonally adjust the data to allow monthly
and yea- to-year comparisons.
The overall TSI consists of two measures, freight and passenger.
The freight measure increased 2.9 percent from November to
December 2003 to reach a record high of 120.2. The passenger
measure decreased 3.6 percent from November to December 2003
to 114.4, after seven consecutive months of increases. Historically,
the freight measure has served as a leading indicator for
predicting economic growth.
The index shows just how much keeping the economy moving
is about keeping America moving, Mineta said. The
TSI finally gives us a measure of how much the millions of
men and women who work in the transportation sector contribute
to the American economy every day.
The freight measures in the TSI include for-hire trucking
& parcel services, freight railroad services, inland waterway
traffic, pipeline movements and air freight. The passenger
transportation measures are local transit, intercity passenger
rail and air passenger transportation. For more information
about the TSI, please visit www.bts.gov.