Most people don’t know much about The Freight Transportation Services Index which is usually abbreviated as TSI. It’s just a measure of the volume of services that are performed by the transportation sector. It includes both freight and passenger carriers. By tracking the information in the TSI, you can see a pattern that shows just how performance is in transportation service. By watching the way the TSI varies over time, analysts are able to understand economic changes that can affect the economy. They can also see those changes in the economy that affect the transportation industry.
1. You Can See Economic Growth
The TSI has three portions including the passenger sector, freight sector and combined sector. These three sectors are tracked individually and can increase and decrease independently of each other. The Department of Transportation has created a graph that shows the three sectors as they have changed from 2000 until the present. By mousing over the data point, you can see the exact numbers from each month. Clearly societal factors, such as the attacks of 9/11 and the economic upheaval beginning in 2007 are visible.
2. You Can Save Money on Freight Costs
Because there are trends in both freight shipping and passenger travel, the TSI needs to be adjusted to the various seasons. For instance, shipping around the holidays is generally a last minute rush to get products where they need to be before the calendar year ends. Knowing the times that are typically busy allow those who need to ship the opportunity to save money. Freight calculators allow businesses to estimate shipping costs; seasonally adjusting lets businesses save money by avoiding the high-demand times.
3. You Can Save Money on Passenger Travel
If you are thinking about traveling by rail, plane, or transit, you can capitalize on the information you can see in the TSI. When watching the data, remember that it is seasonally adjusted. Passenger travel is very much affected by the seasons, as well. Bear in mind that companies that provide flights and other modes of transportation are very aware of when passenger travel demand increases. They monitor what the TSI has done in the past, and check other current factors like the cost of crude oil. When the demand increases, so will the ticket prices.
As a consumer, you can save on travel costs by consulting the TSI. If you have to travel during a time that has been a traditionally high demand time, get your tickets early. Planning ahead will be your best bet. If you are traveling during a time that could be changed, think about scheduling during a time that typically shows less passenger travel demand; less demand equals lower ticket prices.