Given our previous conversations I was under the impression that presenting this idea in terms of a formal research, and business plan given it's scope was outside the scale of research - or hypothesis expected for this particular challenge. I am definitely passionate about this idea, and would be willing to build a formal business plan - to continue momentum with this idea with the hope that some private investors, government, etc. Could take this idea an seek to implement to alleviate congestion patterns in the city.
One idea I did have that was smaller in scope recently over intellectual discussion with friends, was an app that could allow local farmers to provide fresh produce to city residents downtown in a manner similar to ride sharing where 3rd Party Drivers could pickup orders of enrolled local farms, and deliver them to their customers who ordered the produce through the app. I am not sure how familiar you are with Pittsburgh's geography, but outside the urban center it is fairly rural with a myriad of local farms - felt this might be a way to help local growers, and city consumers with getting access to fresh locally grown produce despite the lack of a central grocery store in the city.
Let me know your thoughts - if I should continue to pursue providing research on the rail conversion research, and proposal - or shift gears to this smaller scale idea.
Light Rail is just engineering speak for passenger rail. Essentially - the, “T” is currently a hybrid of subway and surface track - the concept of converting heavy gauge industrial lines to light rail means extension of the T by extending surface lines using the old industrial tracks not in use. The Metro in D.C. is a great example of that above ground or surface light rail(Light Metro), and underground light rail(Tube/Subway) in D.C. they run the Surface Rail which is considered light rail out to the burbs, goes underground in inner-city which could be considered a subway.
It’s a much lower cost option then tunneling, and tracking which is why most cities have a hybrid.
For more info: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_rail