2019 40 Under 40: Erik Belmont

Sept. 13, 2019
Erik Belmont, Program Analyst, Office of Transit Operations, District Department of Transportation, Transit Delivery Division
  • One word to describe yourself: Dogged
  • Alma Mater: Guilford College, Virginia Tech
  • Favorite book: “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn
  • Favorite TV show: “Battlestar Galactica” (2004-2009 remake) 
  • Favorite hobby(s): Traveling abroad 
  • Fun fact about yourself: I grew up in the state department and spent 18 years overseas living in six countries. 
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why): Almost every stop in downtown Moscow, Russia. Many of the stations have unique and unforgettable marble iconography.
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent (and why): The S6 commuter line in Munich, Germany, because the line runs on time, travels through a bucolic region outside the city and the ride is smooth.

Erik Belmont serves as a program analyst in the Transit Delivery Division after starting at the District of Transportation (DDOT) as a Capital City Fellow in 2017.

During his time as a fellow, he researched, conducted outreach and designed performance measures currently used to analyze the current electric bus program. 

In the spring of 2018, DDOT began operating 14 electric buses in the District of Columbia’s Circulator fleet as part of a pilot project to test the viability of the technology and its feasibility for large scale expansion. He supported the launch of the electric bus program in 2018 by working with the manufacturer to identify mechanical and technical challenges that came along the way. 

In order to accomplish this, he assembled a group of electric bus manufacturer staff, DDOT staff and D.C. Circulator’s operations and maintenance contractor to troubleshoot challenges in the program, and to bring them successfully into service. Since the launch of the electric bus pilot, he’s assembled and led an additional group within DDOT to oversee the collection of data, reporting directly to senior staff on bus performance, that will issue final recommendations for the future of DDOT’s electric bus expansion.  

He’s currently leading the effort in creating DDOT’s fleet transition plan. As part of the fleet transition plan effort, he’s also developing a pilot project testing a microgrid backup system to guarantee that electric buses can function seamlessly during a major power outage. He’s also an advocate for the use of electric bus technology as a resilience measure, using the vehicles as mobile batteries capable of powering emergency facilities in the event of a disaster.

With all this experience, Belmont has represented DDOT at multiple speaking occasions, presenting what he and his division learned about electric buses at the 2018 American Public Transportation Association Sustainability and Multimodal Planning Workshop and at the 2018 Washington Advanced Energy 4th quarter meeting. 

He also led the electric bus briefing event for regional transit agencies with the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC). D.C. Circulator won the GWRCCC 2018 Electric Fleet Leadership Award, which Belmont accepted on behalf of DDOT.  

“I have the satisfaction of knowing that my work will positively impact the lives of our ridership by helping to reduce carbon emissions and reduce NOx emissions, thereby improving the quality of the air they breathe when riding our buses.”

“I lead DDOT’s effort to apply for Federal Low-No funding to purchase additional electric buses for the Circulator fleet. That application was accepted, and DDOT will receive $2.6 million in funding toward its efforts to retire diesel buses and replace them with electrics.”