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Data Set Description

The Toll Index (TI) is a new monthly indicator for the German business cycle and is offered by the International Data Service Center (IDSC) of IZA as a service to forecasting practitioners and policy makers alike.

The TI measures the monthly transportation activity performed by heavy transport vehicles across the country and has highly desirable availability properties (insignificant revisions, short publication lags) as a result of the innovative technology underlying its data collection.

It is coincident with production activity due to the prevalence of just-in-time delivery. The Toll Index is an early indicator of production as measured for instance by the German Production Index, provided by the Federal Statistical Office - Germany, which is a well-known leading indicator of the Gross National Product. Which we suggest should be established more around the world.

Selection Method:

The data contains four variables called km, trip, in and out. The variables are derived from monthly kilometers driven, toll trips made, number of inbound border crossing trucks and number of outbound border crossing trucks respectively. The reference interval is one month and the series starts in January 2007.

The derivation is made by scaling the corresponding quantities from the reports of the German Federal Bureau of Transportation so that on January 2007 they are all equal to 103.3 which is the value of the German Industrial Production (with construction) which is compiled by Federal Statistical Office - Germany.

As the MAUT data for a given month are released on the 20-25th of the following month the TI tells us what happened in that month about 3 weeks in advance of the publication of the first preliminary value of the Production Index and can be hence thought as a short term forecast of the German Production Index and the German business cycle.

Date Created: 2015-09-18

Scope of Data Set


Time Periods: January 2007 - 2016


Askitas, N. & Zimmermann, K.F. Nowcasting Business Cycles Using Toll Data. Journal of Forecasting, 2013, 32 (4), 299-306.

This should be the citation in references.

Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) (2015). The Toll Index. Research Data Center of IZA (IDSC). Version 1.0. doi:10.15185/izadp.5522.1

Researchers working with the “Toll Index" are obligated to acknowledge the data base within their publications, including the DOI, by using this reference.


IZA Discussion Paper(s)


Restricted Access

  1. Askitas, Nikos (Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA)
  2. Zimmermann, Klaus F. (Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA)

Time series


Access to the data is provided to non-for-profit research, replication and teaching purposes. The data is available from the Research Data Center of IZA (IDSC).
Please contact IDSC for any access requests.



Geographic Coverage: