Library Collection

The Transportation Library located at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) headquarters in Sacramento was established in the late 1940’s as part of the Planning Division. In the early 1970's it was centralized by combining several in-house collections becoming a Department-wide service.

The transportation collection contains approximately 50,000 books, Caltrans technical reports, other state DOT reports and approximately 150 periodical and newsletter titles. The library holds items on all modes of transportation and includes materials on highways and structures design, construction, operations and maintenance, earthquake engineering, transportation economics, taxation, finance and administration, traffic engineering, and environmental planning. The library also has a comprehensive collection of Transportation Research Board and U.S. Federal Highway Administration materials.

Library materials are available in print, electronic, and CD/DVD formats.

The history collection contains materials relating to the Department’s history and its role in California's transportation development and specifically, to its roads and bridges. The collection is comprised of a selection of documents, maps, history files, artifacts, oral histories and photographs from the 1890’s to the 1990's.

In the 1980's a number of oral histories were produced under the direction of the Caltrans History Preservation Committee. The "Highway Recollections" series consists of tape recordings and published transcriptions of interviews with retired engineers, highway maintenance workers, administrators, and other personnel who have shared their insights on past highway development and changes within the Department.

The "Loma Prieta" series consists of accounts from 258 Caltrans employees who worked to restore the State’s damaged transportation system. They were produced in the aftermath of the October 17, 1989 earthquake.  

Short Summaries of Oral Histories

Digitized oral histories of the complete Highway Recollections series and the Loma Prieta series are available via streaming on Internet Archive via California Revealed.

For appointments or information about the Library's transportation or history collections, contact us at (916) 654-4601 or