Past housing and transportation policy have encouraged car-centric sprawl, reinforcing racial and social inequity and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. A new paper, published by the Terner Center and authored by Yonah Freemark at the Urban Institute, examines this history and offers strategies for how new federal infrastructure funding and policies could be leveraged to better coordinate housing and transportation planning at the local level.
The paper argues that federal transportation policy and investments have the potential to promote housing development near transit by strengthening coordination of metropolitan housing and transportation planning processes, encouraging joint development of land owned by public transit agencies, and financing housing through low-interest federal loans.
This won’t happen without local action however. Local and state governments have a critical role to play in maximizing the links between transportation and housing investments. The paper highlights strategies such as reforming zoning codes and creating incentive programs to encourage denser development near transit, using federal grants or local housing trust funds to fund transit-oriented development, requiring local or state agencies to plan for projects that will help to reduce emissions from vehicle miles traveled, and planning for new housing and new transit lines simultaneously.