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Robert Traver, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Robert Traver, PhD

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director of the Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems; Director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership | College of Engineering | Villanova University


Robert Traver, PhD., P.E., D. WRE, F.EWRI, F.ASCE, is an expert on green stormwater infrastructure.



Robert Traver, PhD Publication Robert Traver, PhD Publication




Dr. Robert Traver on Hurricane Katrina Dr. Robert Traver speaks on the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership Dr. Robert Traver speaks on Villanova Center for the Advancement of Sustainability in Engineering Smart Roof for Stormwater Management (August 2015)



Areas of Expertise (6)

Stormwater Management

Green Infrastructure

Stormwater Management Bmp


Urban Watersheds

Water Resources


Dr. Robert G. Traver has been a member of the Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Program at Villanova since 1988. He currently serves as Director of the Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems (VCRWS), which joins with government and industry to advance the field of comprehensive stormwater management. In taking the lead with VCRWS, Dr. Traver has transformed the Villanova campus into a living laboratory with on-site experimental projects such as a green roof, rain garden, stormwater wetland, pervious concrete and porous asphalt.

Dr. Traver played a significant role in the Corps of Engineers' investigation of the failure of the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System during Hurricane Katrina as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers External Panel (ERP). Dr. Traver has previously testified before Congress and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Education (3)

Pennsylvania State University: PhD

Villanova University: MCE

Virginia Military Institute: BSCE

Select Accomplishments (5)

2019 Recipient of Environmental and Water Resources Institute Lifetime Achievement Award (professional)

This award is presented to a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers for demonstrating a life-long level of commitment to environmental or water resources engineering through public service, research or education.

2016 Villanova University Outstanding Faculty Research Award (professional)

The Outstanding Faculty Research Award award recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates the highest standards of excellence in research, scholarship and contributions to their field. Dr. Traver received this award for his scholarship in stormwater management and sustainable engineering.

2007 Outstanding Civilian Service Medal (professional)

Awarded by the Commanding General of the United States Corps of Engineers for Dr. Traver's role on the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) External Review Panel, charged with determining the cause of New Orleans’ levee system failure during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 .

2014 ASCE William H. Wisley American Civil Engineer Award (professional)

Awarded to recognize Dr. Traver's leadership of the American Society of Civil Engineer's (ASCE) Task Committee on Flood Safety Policies and Practices.

Retired LTC of the U.S. Army Reserve (personal)

Desert Storm Veteran

Affiliations (5)

  • Associate Editor and Co-Founder of the ASCE Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment
  • Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE)
  • Diplomat and Former President of the American Academy of Water Resource Engineers
  • Committee Member of the National Research Council Committee that authored “Urban Stormwater Management in the United States” (2009)
  • Steering committee of the Water Environmental Federation Stormwater Institute

Select Media Appearances (9)

MSD Asks Voters to Increase Their Sewer Bills. If They Don’t say Yes, Massive Hikes Await.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch  online


Policies like Prop S that take aim at runoff from impervious surfaces are becoming increasingly common around the country, as cities and towns grapple with how to address problems from “water off pavement,” said Rob Traver, a Villanova University professor of water resource engineering and an urban stormwater expert. “It is directly related to what causes the problem,” he said. “It’s definitely growing. I’m seeing more and more areas doing this.”

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Study shows federal weather model underplays flooding, putting infrastructure spending at risk

Politico  online


Some states and cities are updating their design standards on their own to account for climate-driven precipitation changes, said Robert Traver, a professor and director of the Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems. Traver is working with Pennsylvania to update its design specifications to use the upper bounds of the Atlas 14 rainfall range. He said doing so would better account for how climate change is driving more intense rainfall events.

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Inside the Billion-Dollar Effort to Clean Up the World’s Most Romantic River

TIME  online


There is a reason that it’s taken so long: most of the world’s largest cities were built long before modern sanitation networks were knit into urban planning. “You cannot put in a whole new sanitation system. It’s ridiculously expensive,” says Robert Traver, a leading urban-river specialist and engineering professor at Villanova University in Philadelphia. That city, for example, has had a plan for years to transform its section of the Delaware River and make it swimmable; much like the Seine in Paris, the river cuts through the city.

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With a Green Makeover, Philadelphia Is Tackling Its Stormwater Problem

Yale e360  online


At nearby Villanova University, the Urban Stormwater Partnership, founded in 2002 under environmental engineering professor Robert Traver, had begun experimenting with green stormwater infrastructure. Neukrug developed a couple of low-impact pilot design projects, and in 2009, the Philadelphia Water Department released a revision — 12 years in the making — to its stormwater and sewage management plan.

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Those surprising gardens along I-95 in Fishtown? They'll manage Olympic amounts of stormwater

Philadelphia Inquirer  online


One recent day after a heavy rain, Robert Traver, a professor of civil engineering at Villanova and chair of the university’s Urban Stormwater Partnership, was out inspecting one of the rain gardens. This one, running along Richmond Street, between Shackamaxon and Marlborough Streets, covered about 1.7 acres.

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I-95 overhaul includes green infrastructure to reduce river pollution

WHYY's Newsworks  online


“They’re building a lot of green infrastructure, rain gardens and bioinfiltration sites that weren’t there before,” said Villanova engineering professor Robert Traver, who is working on the project. “So that means all those acres of impervious surface that used to go directly into the combined sewers now get cut off and reduce the volume tremendously.”

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Cities enlist nature to tame rising flood risks

Christian Science Monitor  online


But in recent years, the method has gained credence as a buffer against climate change, said Robert Traver, a professor and director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership at Villanova University in Philadelphia, a city replete with porous pavement and other projects that’s turned it into the US poster child for green infrastructure.

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10 years after Hurricane Katrina, US still lacks comprehensive strategy to tackle floods, experts warn

Fox News  online


“There has been a lot of work done in the areas that were flooded out,” Robert Traver, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Villanova University, told FoxNews.com. “Where we still need a lot of good work is in treating everything like a system – it’s not just the barrier systems such as levees and sand-dunes, it’s ‘how good is our evacuation system?’ ‘What do we do to make the houses more resilient?’ ‘What do we do about land use decisions?’ and ‘How good is our public notification system?’”

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Engineers call for national approach to flooding

Associated Press  online


An organization of civil engineers is calling for a national strategy for mitigating flood risks, saying the U.S. has not fully heeded lessons from Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy... Robert Traver, the Villanova University professor who was chairman of the group that made the report, said the issues are critical. “The failure to act today has future consequence,” he said.

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Research Grants (5)

Stormwater Best Management Practice National Monitoring Site

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection $323,366


PennDot Green Infrastructure Research Center

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation $702,000


Green Cities Clean Water Research Center

City of Philadelphia’s Water Department $150,000


Next Generation Volume Reduction Green Infrastructure Stormwater Control Measures in Support of Philadelphia's Green City Clean Waters Initiative

Environmental Protection Agency $1 million


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Rain Garden Configuration to Maximize Hydrologic Performance

Pennsylvania Growing Greener $126,745


Select Academic Articles (5)

Dynamic design of green stormwater infrastructure

Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Traver, R., Ebrahimian, A.


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Storm Water Control Management & Monitoring

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Toran, L., Eisenman, S., Caplan, J., Van Aken, B., McKenzie, E., Nyquist, J., Jonathan E., Ryan, E., Kelley, J., Traver, R., Tu, M., Schmidt, N., Calt, E.


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Green Infrastructure Recovery: Analysis of the Influence of Back-to-Back Rainfall Events

ASCE Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment

Wadzuk, B., Lewellyn, C. Lee, R., Traver, R.


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The Impact of Drainage on Green Roof Evapotranspiration

Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering

Zaremba, G., Traver R., Wadzuk, B.


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Flood Risk Management: Call for a National Strategy

American Society of Civil Engineers

Traver, R.


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