Best practice made perfect for worldwide use

  • Published
  • By Frank McIntyre
  • Public Affairs
The Vance AFB Motorcycle Rider Database was first developed by Maj Steve Karis and 1st Lt Chad Shaver during the summer of 2003 while both worked in the T-37 programming office. Major Karis was the 8th Flying Training Squadron's unit motorcycle safety representative, while Lieutenant Shaver was a recent U.S. Air Force Academy grad with a degree in computer science.
"The overall goal of the project was to enhance motorcycle safety by increasing understanding between commanders and riders and increase awareness of safe riding practices," Major Karis said. "To achieve this goal, there were three primary design objectives: (1) provide a more efficient means of recording/tracking/updating motorcycle rider data mandated by Air Force Instruction 91-207 and its Air Education and Training Command supplement, (2) provide an electronic forum for voluntary sharing of data among riders to promote camaraderie and peer mentoring, in the spirit of AETC Commander Gen Donald Cook's Motorcycle Safety Awareness Initiatives, and (3) provide a simple, intuitive interface so the program would actually be used," the major said.
The first version of the program met all three design goals. After training on the program, each section's motorcycle safety rep could show riders how to set up an account and enter/access their own data. This allowed individual sections to keep their data up to date as riders transferred in or out of the squadron, ensuring the commander and unit motorcycle safety representative always had ready access to current rider information and statistics.
"The commander, section safety reps and riders all found the program easy to use and effective at reducing the 'paper load,' " Lieutenant Shaver said. "And the riders enjoyed being able to readily locate others with similar riding interests via the shared portion of the database."
The positive results led to the 8th FTS Motorcycle Rider Database being identified as a "Best Practice" by the 2003 AETC Operational Readiness Inspection Team during their September 2003 visit to Vance Air Force Base.
Following this award, an article about the database appeared in the March/April 2004 edition of TIG BRIEF magazine, published by the Inspector General of the Air Force and distributed throughout the Air Force. Shortly thereafter, Major Karis received multiple inquiries from motorcycle safety representatives worldwide interested in incorporating the database into their own motorcycle safety programs. In response, he and Lieutenant Shaver got to work developing an exportable, customizable and significantly expanded version of the program.
Version 2.0 of the software, completed last month, added several new features.
"The most significant change is that the database is now structured for use by an entire installation, rather than just individual units," Major Karis said. "That, and the fact units can now customize the database with their logos, commanders' names, etc., is what will really make the program useful to the other bases who have inquired about it."
Another important change is that the functionality of the database has been improved by expanding the amount of rider data tracked and reorganizing its presentation.
Now when a motorcycle rider at a base in Europe wants to find a riding partner of comparable skills to tour with, that information will be available by computer thanks to the ingenuity of a Team Vance pair.