Increasing access to abundant housing can reduce housing costs and improve housing affordability, particularly if combined with planning for public transportation, which also supports more environmentally sustainable outcomes. Communities throughout the United States, however, have struggled to both provide adequate housing and do so in a way that is coordinated with transit. In this paper, I demonstrate how US housing and transportation policies encouraged sprawling, car-dependent housing development that has reinforced social and racial inequities while increasing carbon emissions. The era of the greatest growth in housing abundance in the US—the 1970s—was simultaneously associated with urban sprawl, car reliance, environmental degradation, and disinvestment in historic city centers, all of which reinforced segregated living patterns and reinforced social inequity.
New federal infrastructure funding and related policies provide opportunities to reverse these trends by encouraging the coordination of metropolitan housing and transportation plans. Federal funds can also be leveraged to support projects that maximize access to transit and promote the joint development of housing. States and local governments, too, can advance transit-oriented housing abundance. Through zoning reforms, public investments, and strategic planning processes that leverage both housing and transportation resources, it is possible to produce communities that are less reliant on cars and offer residents lower costs of living.