Obtaining data from Palm Tran

How Contact 5 Investigators found speeding buses

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Contact 5 Investigators have been trying to get speed data from Palm Tran since last November, before our original story aired. That is the same time we submitted our original public information request for the data.

Click here to watch the first investigation.

It wasn't until April of this year when the people who run the bus system sat down with the Contact 5 Investigators about that request. It was then that we discovered that a fairly new computer system does track how fast buses are going at given times.

After spending more than $200 on documents, we finally were able to obtain data for Palm Tran's busiest route, route one, that drives along Federal Highway.

The data included latitude and longitude coordinates that shows where the speed was recorded. We plotted those points on a map to find out where each bus was at the time. Then we hit the road to match those locations to the speed limits posted along the route. The goal was to determine whether or not a particular bus was speeding.

At the end we learned that 15 of the 19 buses out on the road along Route One during that three hour time period had been speeding, according to the data, at some point on the route.

We asked Palm Tran Director, Chuck Cohen, if Palm Tran is monitoring these reports daily. He said they are not.

"If we print it out every route and by time of day for every trip we'd be inundated with paper," Cohen said. "I'm not sure it'd be worth the effort."

To watch our complete investigation, click here.

Investigative Producer Lynn Walsh contributed to this story.

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