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BTS releases July 2015 Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.6 percent in July from June, rising after a single month of decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The July 2015 index level (122.8) was 29.7 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The level of freight shipments in July measured by the Freight TSI (122.8) was 0.5 percent below the all-time high level of 123.5 in November 2014 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.

The June index was revised to 122.1 from 121.9 in last month’s release. The March, April, and May indexes were also revised up slightly.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in 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.

Trend: The July increase of 0.6 percent in the Freight TSI continued the trend that began after the index peaked in November 2014. The index has alternated months of increases and decreases with the monthly indexes ranging from 0.5 percent below the November level to 2.1 percent lower. Following the increase in July, the index was 0.5 percent lower than the all-time high, returning to its March 2015 level after three months below that level. After dipping to 94.7 in April 2009, the index rose 29.7 percent in the succeeding 75 months. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.

Analysis: The Freight TSI increase was part of broad economic growth in July that was reflected in several measures that impact transportation. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose 0.6 percent, the same percentage increase as the Freight TSI. Personal income, employment and housing starts all rose. Among the transportation modes, significant increases in trucking and rail carloads led the TSI Freight index upward along with a smaller increase in air freight. Water, pipeline and rail intermodal declined.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in July 2015 (122.8) were 29.7 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.7). The July 2015 level was 0.5 percent below the historic peak reached in November 2014 (123.5).

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were up 0.2 percent in July compared to the end of 2014.


See Freight TSI Press Release for summary tables and additional data. See Transportation Services Index for historical data and methodology.