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Can I achieve this by using different video tracks, each with its own title?
Rolling and crawling titles
Can I achieve this by using different video tracks, each with its own title? Could I somehow change the background of each title to "transparent" to make this happen?
Yep, that's really the only way to achieve it. And by default, every new title is created on a transparent background; click the eyeball in the Titler to see this at work. In the Titler, you see the background appear to be filled with whatever is at the CTI in your sequence, but that's merely for design reference--it doesn't become part of the title itself. If you drop a title on a track above your video, you'll see the video play behind it.
super, great news! thanks, matt