ITD News
Associated Press
News Link

DOT index shows transportation output near
historic highs; results indicate future economic growth

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. December’s increase was the fourth consecutive increase in the new monthly index.

“Today’s 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 Department’s 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