April 25, 2012

Port Authority of N.Y./N.J. launches activity index

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is now posting an index of monthly passenger and freight activity levels on the agency’s website, providing the public with data from the agency’s airports, interstate crossings, rail line and port facilities.

Dubbed PA Pulse, the index provides a one-stop look at monthly transportation activity, which may eventually help portend regional economic trends since transportation is a key component of business activity.

PA Pulse will combine monthly totals of rail and bus mass-transit users; aviation passengers; vehicle movements; and air, truck and sea cargo, providing a cross-section of transportation activity at the region’s key gateways and interstate crossings, which can be compared on a month-by-month basis.

Statistics will be timely and seasonally adjusted and will take into account holidays and severe weather issues to provide the most meaningful monthly portrayal of activity possible.

While patterned after the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly Transportation Services Index (TSI), the PA Pulse is a different kind of index. The TSI measures the national economic output from transportation services based on extensive private sector reporting. The PA Pulse is compiled by Port Authority staff and its operating partners at no cost to the agency and focuses on tracking goods and passenger activity at a more limited regional network of facilities.

The PA Pulse should be considered a transportation activity index and is not designed to be an economic indicator. Nonetheless, the PA Pulse does vary with the economy, and agency officials will monitor the index to test its ability to predict changes in the regional economy.

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