The Swiss people on Sunday turned down a proposal to introduce a general speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour. The initiative was rejected by a 4-1 margin.
The "Roads for all" initiative called for the introduction of a general speed limit of 30 km/h for built-up areas to be introduced within a year. The current limit is 50 km/h.
The Swiss Association for Transport and Environment, which launched the initiative, claimed the speed reduction would not only increase safety but would also benefit the environment by reducing noise and pollution, and improve the quality of life in built-up areas.
Neither the government nor parliament supported the initiative, although they acknowledged that it had raised important questions about safety, the environment and noise pollution.
The government's "no-vote" recommendation is based on research, which shows that imposing a 30km/h speed limit would fail to reduce speeds unless enforcement was stepped up at the same time.
Last year nearly 600 people were killed on Switzerland's roads.
swissinfo with agencies