We introduce an automated aerosol type classification method, called Source Classification Analysis (SCAN). SCAN is based on predefined and characterized aerosol source regions, the time that the air parcel spends above each geographical region, and a number of additional criteria. The output of SCAN is compared with two independent aerosol classification methods, which use the intensive optical parameters from lidar data: (1) the Mahalanobis distance automatic aerosol type classification (MD) and (2) a neural network aerosol typing algorithm (NATALI). In this paper, data from the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET) have been used. A total of 97 free tropospheric aerosol layers from four typical EARLINET stations (i.e., Bucharest, Kuopio, Leipzig, and Potenza) in the period 2014-2018 were classified based on a 3Î²+2Î±+1[delta] lidar configuration. We found that SCAN, as a method independent of optical properties, is not affected by overlapping optical values of different aerosol types. Furthermore, SCAN has no limitations concerning its ability to classify different aerosol mixtures. Additionally, it is a valuable tool to classify aerosol layers based on even single (elastic) lidar signals in the case of lidar stations that cannot provide a full data set (3Î²+2Î±+1[delta]) of aerosol optical properties; therefore, it can work independently of the capabilities of a lidar system. Finally, our results show that NATALI has a lower percentage of unclassified layers (4 %), while MD has a higher percentage of unclassified layers (50 %) and a lower percentage of cases classified as aerosol mixtures (5 %).