Sure, in a perfect world, we'd all live near work. A short commute saves time and money and makes it easy to bike or walk to the office. But in the real world there are lots of factors affecting where we choose to live, and work is only one of them.
Perhaps moving to be near your job would be more appealing if it came with $12,000 dollars. Washington, D.C.'s Office of Planning is launching a pilot program called Live Near Your Work that will match up to $6,000 in incentives that businesses offer to employees to move near work or public transit. The new digs just have to be within two miles of work, within half a mile of a Metro station, or within a quarter mile of a "high-quality" bus corridor. The program has $200,000 to give out in total, which isn't much, but that's just for this initial phase.
If it works, this program could help reduce traffic and pollution in the area, spur an urban revitalization, and improve the quality of life of the people who participate. And with $12,000 in incentives to move and no need to buy $4 gas, you could buy one hell of a bike.