Air quality declines, because you increase the number of cars capable of being on the road at the same time. Same with lowering gasoline prices. Make car riding easy, gas-burning increases.
As for a "better" lfe - first, dump the car. It makes you fat, makes your country go to war repeatedly to protect the oil, pollutes us into a super-hot future, and kills and maims more civilians in total than our wars killed soldiers. You just grew up with the carnage, so it's normal and acceptable to you. And it costs us trillions and trillions of dollars (add it up, adjust for inflation since we started building) of tax dollars that could have build a kick-ass mass transit system that connects everywhere in the country. And the costs are snowballing every year becaue we have to maintain all the old as we build the new - but we don't, of course. That's what the "infrastructure" talked about since 1979 mostly is - roads and bridges for cars. We aren't fixing those because we don't want to be taxed enough to do so - so we fall into hell. Except for the wealthy new places, the system is falling apart.