Press Release Article


Date: Apr 24, 2012
Press Release Number: 54-2012

Modeled on USDOT’s Transportation Services Index, PA Pulse Offers Businesses, Government Officials and the Public a Real Time Indicator of Transportation Sector

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 web site, providing the public with a quick glance at transportation activity at 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 aviation passengers, vehicle movements, rail and bus mass-transit users 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, Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye announced this morning. 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.

The PA Pulse, which currently comprises 20 years of historical data at key regional gateways and crossings, is accessible at

“The business of the Port Authority is the business of the region and these monthly passenger and freight transportation figures will help the public gauge activity levels throughout the metropolitan area,” said Executive Director Foye. “This monthly snapshot will provide a quick glimpse of passenger travel levels and cargo movements to help officials and others better understand our transportation network. That knowledge can help them spot key trends to eventually help guide regional economic decision making.”

“The Port Authority is the heart of the region, and the PA Pulse will serve as an invaluable resource for both the public and private sector,” said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni. “This is another step the PA is taking to return to its core transportation mission and reaffirm its role as the economic engine for the region.”

An analysis of the data already shows the index has made a partial recovery from the depths of the recession, but does not indicate the steady growth expected in a robust economic expansion. Regional transportation activity in February 2012 as measured by the PA Pulse, for example, was three-tenths of 1 percent below what it was in February 2011 after seasonal adjustments.

The Pulse showed remarkable growth of 31.4 percent between 1992 and its pre-recession peak in late 2000. After recovering from recession and 9/11, the index grew another 5.1 percent to its next peak in 2010. The index fell 13.8 percent when the recent financial crisis and recession hit, and has not yet finished climbing back to previous levels. It has grown 6.8 percent since its recent low point in March 2009.

The PA Passenger Pulse component of the index includes fliers at the agency’s four commercial airports, automobile and bus occupants at the six crossings, ferry passengers across the Hudson River, and PATH and other trans-Hudson rail passengers.

The PA Freight Pulse component of the index comprises air cargo tonnage at the Port Authority’s four commercial airports, container cargo imports and exports at port facilities in New Jersey and New York and truck activity at the agency’s four bridges and two tunnels.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Ron Marsico, 212-435-7777

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which does not receive tax dollars from either state, operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. This includes John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; the Port Authority-Port Jersey Marine Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

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