One of the key challenges on the road to sustainable mobility is the development of low/zero emission urban public transport (UPT). This is crucial in order to meet environmental requirements aiming at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. In some countries (e.g., Poland) reduction of air pollution is also an important reason behind the implementation of low/zero emission UPT. The aim of this study is to investigate the factors and mechanisms influencing the development of modern electromobility in Polish UPT. We have examined all 242 UPT systems in the country in terms of the characteristics of the relevant urban municipalities, such as size, economic prosperity, level of human and social capital, development paths of urban public transport in the long term as well as the institutional context and proximity and connections to other cities with experience in electromobility. Classification and statistical methods are used based on a variety of approaches, as assigning a score to various preliminarily identified indicators or applying correlation between quantities to verify the formulated hypotheses. Our analysis demonstrates that electromobility adoption is the result of a combination of favourable economic, urban, social and technological characteristic features of a given city. Zero or low emission buses are more common in large cities which are highly positioned in urban hierarchy, economically sound and which are characterized by a well-developed tertiary economy as well as by high human capital. An additional factor that positively influences the implementation of electromobility—in particular at the very first stage—is proximity to the location of low emission bus producers. The leadership in modern electromobility can be understood as part of a broader, proactive development policy of the cities aimed at improving the quality of life of their residents. This is especially important in medium-sized towns where utilizing electric vehicles can be an instrument to maintain or even develop their role and status. The results of the article may provide a basis for creating sustainable urban policies, especially sustainable mobility and improving environmental quality.
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