New DOT economic index will measure importance of transportation to the economy

News U.S. DOT February 10, 2004
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U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta has announced the Transportation Services Index (TSI), a new economic indicator intended to measure the performance of the economy as reflected in the movement of freight and passengers.

Mineta announced the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) index after ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. The new index will focus on the movement of freight and passenger traffic by land, water and air. It is expected that the TSI will join the ranks of other monthly indicators in providing a reliable benchmark on the overall strength of the American economy.

"Wall Street understands how important numbers are for gauging financial health," said Mineta. "The new Transportation Services Index will fill a crucial void by finally giving us a single number to measure how much transportation means to the American economy."

The TSI will use monthly data on freight movement and passenger travel in the for-hire transportation sector. Analysts from the department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) will weight and seasonally adjust the data to allow monthly and year-to-year comparisons.

The freight measures in the TSI will include for-hire trucking and parcel services, freight railroad services, inland waterway traffic, pipeline movements and air freight. The passenger transportation measures will be local transit, intercity passenger rail and air passenger transportation. The first TSI numbers will be released in March.

The transportation sector accounts for 11 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and employs over 11 million Americans. At the New York Stock Exchange alone, there are 39 transportation companies listed that together represent a current market value of over $181 billion.

Mineta said the TSI will provide the first-ever single measure of the transportation sector’s impact on the economy. "The TSI will show just how much keeping the economy moving is about keeping America moving," said Mineta.

More detailed information on the new index is available on the BTS website,

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