Pittsburgh Public Transportation: Light Rail System (Thesis)

Pittsburgh Public Transportation: Light Rail Diagram

A few years ago, Ben Samson, a graduate student in Architecture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Pittsburgh native, created a detailed presentation of a proposed alternative for the Pittsburgh public transportation system.

For his Master’s thesis in Architecture, Samson designed a scale blueprint of transit lines and stops for the newly proposed Pittsburgh Light Rail system that emulated the light rail systems of larger cities. The proposed transportation system connected the entire city of Pittsburgh and suburbs including lines that reached Pittsburgh International Airport, Cranberry, and New Kensington.

Pittsburgh Public Transportation: Light Rail Diagram


Samson’s design was completed and published to his blog two years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that they came back up thanks to an Internet buzz. On his blog, SamsonWaacThesis.Blogspot.com, Samson recently noted on October 18th, 2013, “So. It seems that 2 years later, my thesis is sparking some internet buzz and I thought that I would give you all an update. I successfully defended my thesis and graduated in 2012 with my Masters of Architecture ¬†and have just recently moved back home to the Burgh with my wife, Betsy, who is at Duquesne getting her PhD in Psychology. I am still figuring out what to do in back in Pittsburgh at the moment, though I have been interviewing at the different architecture firms around town. I hope to help the city in its urban renaissance in any way possible!”


There is no projected construction of the Pittsburgh Light Rail system, but it would definitely cost the city billions of dollars to create. A more in-depth public transportation system would alleviate road congestion and air pollution caused by too many cars on the highways and would give transportation alternatives to those living in the areas of Pittsburgh the current railways do not reach. The debate over whether or not to extend the current transportation system to reach the airport and other outskirts is ongoing, but the design by Ben Samson is definitely and interesting perspective.

Pittsburgh Public Transportation: Light Rail Diagram

Samson follows up his remarks by saying, “I know there are a lot of hurdles that the city (and state) would have to go through to implement a project so large. It would most likely cost many billion dollars. But we can’t stop dreaming! Keep up the interest and maybe we can make a difference in the future. As Pittsburgh grows, we will need a plan for transit. IT HAS TO HAPPEN EVENTUALLY. It is important to have an idea of what to work towards so that we dont have to compromise a vision when forced to build out of necessity. Here is a plan, a goal, something to work towards!”


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