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BTS Issues Freight TSI Technical Note

Release Number: 
DOT 96-17

Friday, December 15, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics has released Technical Note, Long-Term Growth in Freight Transportation Services: Methods and Findings, which examines the pattern of freight transportation services beginning in 2004 until the Great Recession beginning in December 2007, as measured by the Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), and compares it to the pattern from the recession through 2016. BTS found that growth from the recession through 2016 did not reach the pace of growth before the recession. The average detrended and smoothed value (a measure of growth, explained in the Technical Note) was 2.28 points in the pre-recession period studied, and only 0.85 points in the post-recession period studied. Data for truck tonnage and rail traffic are also examined and show similar results, with post-recession growth failing to match pre-recession growth for both modes. The Technical Note also documents the methodology used for estimating deviations in growth, by using the statistical tools of seasonal adjustment, detrending and smoothing. BTS publishes the TSI monthly. The Technical Note applies these tools to data through 2016 – a discussion of 2017 freight transportation trends can be found in monthly statistical releases. Media contact: Dave Smallen: (202) 366-5568. For technical information and questions: Ken Notis: (202) 366-3576.