Caltrans History Preservation Committee

Deputy Directive 58



 Oral History



Caltrans preserves and ensures access to selected records, photographs, maps, audiovisual resources, objects, computer data files, and other materials that document the history of the Department. This policy encourages the consideration of historical values when reviewing the disposition of all materials.

Information about past decisions, agreements, policies, programs, and accomplishments of the Department is needed in order to:

  • Explain the evolution of the current practices and policies
  • Provide historical perspective in decision-making in all areas of Departmental activity
  • Aid in the preparation of environmental documents.
  • Assist the legal staff in supporting the Department's position in litigation.
  • Provide background for speeches and news releases.
  • Answer requests from staff, the media, general public, researchers, and students concerning the history of highways and transportation in California.
  • Advocate and publicize the importance of a historical perspective in Departmental activities.
  • Encourage a sense of pride and loyalty in the Department's employees

Policy & Procedure P84-5, Preservation of Department's Historical Materials, established a formal program to preserve the history of the Department, under professional direction, to ensure that materials of historical importance were not discarded and would be easily accessible. This supplemented the records management program that dictated how records would be kept. For further clarification on records management see Deputy Directive #55, Management of Caltrans Information Assets and Records.


Deputy Directors and District Directors are responsible for the preservation of the Department's historical materials that are important to the Programs, Service Centers, or Districts, as well as to the Department overall. These materials include historical files of reports, records, and documents such as manuals, annual reports, handbooks, policy directives, etc.

The Directors appoint members of their staff to serve in a collateral and advisory role as Program, Service Center, or District History Preservation Committee Representative and to assist in locating, evaluating, and preserving historical materials. Staff members are selected on the basis of their interest in preserving the Department's history. They understand the organizational relationships of their Program and have access to all official files and records other than confidential records.

The Historical Records Officer:

  • Is employed by the Administrative Service Center and positioned in the Caltrans Transportation Library. The Historical Records Officer has professional training in the management of historical records, photographs, maps, and objects, and has the expertise to make information from them readily accessible.
  • Is responsible for the implementation of the policy and provides advisory support to the Program, Service Center, and District History Preservation Committee Representatives. A Guide to the Selection Criteria, Procedures, and Management of the Caltrans Transportation Library Historical Collection is issued by the Historical Records Officer and made available through the Transportation Library.

External Affairs and District Public Information Offices, in coordination with the History Preservation Committee and the District History Preservation Committee Representatives, assist the History Preservation Committee in their effort to publicize internally and externally various aspects of the Department's historical heritage consistent with Departmental goals and objectives.

The Equipment Service Center, after receiving approval from the History Preservation Committee, preserves and restores equipment judged to be of historical importance and provides storage space for large articles, such as construction or maintenance equipment.

The History Preservation Committee acts as an advisory body to the Department. It is composed of representatives from each Program and Service Center, External Affairs, Records Management, the Historical Records Officer, the Supervising Librarian, and others at the discretion of the Committee. Program and Service Center Chiefs appoint representatives to the Committee. Members of the Committee will elect a Chairperson annually. The Historical Records Officer acts as Executive Secretary to the Committee.

Employees maintain a historical awareness and, where applicable, integrate historical considerations into the Department's overall responsibilities.


This Policy applies to all activities undertaken by the Department to develop, operate, and maintain the State's transportation system and the Department's internal operations.

Chief Deputy Director

Effective Date: 3-17-00

Questions or comments about this Web site can be directed to the Caltrans History Preservation Committee, or to the Caltrans Transportation Library and History Center.

Last Updated: 30 August, 2011